French fries are probably the best side there is. There’s a bewitching pull to that combination of salt, fat, starch, and crispiness. However, fries are usually ordered and rarely made (from scratch) at home. Why? Well, first of all, it’s the world’s easiest food to share at a restaurant as a snack. So, there’s that. But also, making french fries at home is a pain in the ass.
Cooking fries at home takes a lot more effort than just julienning some potatoes and throwing them into oil until they’re brown (if you do that, by the way, you’ll get soggy sticks of potato). An order of fries will take you, conservatively, an hour or more to make. That’s not something that’s exactly practical after you’ve spent the day working and just want to tuck into some comfort food.
Cooking french fries takes time, a little skill, and patience. That’s why we’d say to save this recipe for the weekend when you can have fun making it and take the time you need to do it right. When you do, you’ll have a basket of french fries that’ll best every fast food french fry out there and rival the best fries from any restaurant.
Potato choice is key here. Russet Burbanks are the best play. In a pinch, you can also use Maris Pipers — those are large white potatoes. I’m using Russets. Basically, you want three medium-sized potatoes for two full baskets of fries.
You’ll also need fat. I’m using peanut oil, mostly because that’s what a lot of old-school steak frites places use and I like the taste (it keeps things vegan too). It’s also less expensive than beef tallow or duck fat. My recommendation, use peanut oil first and then start experimenting with the animal fats once you’ve dialed in your fry. That way you’re not wasting perfectly good (and expensive) animal fats on trail runs.