Recently, as one of our students, Bob, made a fresh remoulade, I tasted it and was immediately transported to countless late nights of the Frenchiest French Fries I had the pleasure of enjoying. I can’t even remember the name of the place in East Baltimore but it was always jumping and their fryers could not keep up with them.
Fried in rendered duck fat (buy online from a variety of vendors) and then topped with fresh herbes de provence and truffle salt, they are only improved by the presence of a side of remoulade. They go well paired with anything from Iced tea to beer to wine. Of course, I would go with the beer with these but that is your call.
Remoulade is a close cousin to tartar sauce and in many restaurants the name is used interchangeably. Truth be told, By adding sriracha or blackening spice to tartar sauce, the process lends itself to the myriad ‘spicy remoulades’ on menus nationwide. As another student, Shelby, made tartar sauce today, I am reminded just how similar the two can be. Both fantastic in their own right, with a sweeter hint to the tartar, we decided to use both as sides to our arterial dream come true.
As for specialty ingredients, it’s good to know a chef, since they have access to said ingredients at much more reasonable prices than if you were to buy them online. A great example is truffle salt, one of the greatest concoctions known to man.
The contributions of truffle salt to one’s olfactory sense cannot be emphasized properly enough in writing. The strong mushroom smell is only doubled by the stronger garlic, earthen aroma that permeates anything on which you sprinkle it.
Combined with the duck fat and the herbes de Provence mixture, you are left with an ethereal experience reminiscent of your first kiss. Well, maybe they’re not that good, but they will leave an impression. And I can promise you that the plate will be empty in little to no time at all.
Given my druthers, I would eat fried food every day of my life, but my doctors tell me otherwise as they have for years. I guess I won’t tell them about the panko-crusted fried shrimp I just had the students make on which to sample our lovely sauces.
And mayhap it may slip my mind to tell my doctor that I had a very healthy portion of the fries when they were done. This is one of the greatest challenges of sticking to a strict dietary regimen while teaching a multitude of cooking classes. But all is fair in love and war.
At least I demonstrated the virtues of a powerful juicer. With all of the students trying their hands at being the next juice bar star, I had plenty of fresh vegetable and fruit juices to counteract the bad that may have come from the fried foods.
But calling anything fried in duck fat anything close to ‘bad’ should be a crime. It is a great cooking medium and should be a welcome addition to your pantry.
And after you make these once, you can recall in your mind this experience for the rest of your life.
Ducky French Fries
duck fat, for frying
herbes de provence (recipe follows)
truffle salt (buy online)
remoulade (recipe follows)
Cut the potatoes into thin strips and set aside in cold water
Heat the oil to 300 degrees and blanch the fries for four minutes. Alternately, you may blanch the fries in heavily salted water for a few minutes, or until they begin to tender. They will finish cooking in the hot oil; a tip from a friend years ago
Allow to cool and turn the fryer up to 350-360 degrees.
When you are ready for service, simply fry the fries until they are golden brown and crispy.
Remove and drain.
Immediately season with truffle salt and herbes de provence.
Serve hot as the aromas will hit your guests long before the amazing flavor will
Herbes de Provence
makes 1/2 cup, proportions to taste
fresh Italian parsley
Strip all leaves from stems and place on a cutting board.
Mince finely and set aside until needed.
makes 3 c.
1 c. mayonnaise
1 tbsp. cornichons or pickle, minced
1 tbsp. capers, minced
1 tsp. fresh tarragon, minced
1 tsp. fresh chervil, minced
1tsp. fresh chives, minced
2 anchovy filets, minced
1 tsp. Dijon
3 shakes of Tabasco
1/2 tsp. worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients and season accordingly.
Allow to set overnight if possible under refrigeration. It is important to allow the flavors to marry.
Serve chilled with anything from fried seafood (fish ‘n chips, shrimp, fried crab cakes, et al) to these amazing fries.