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Monday, February 23, 2009

Garlic Oregano Oven Fries with Pecorino Romano

I have a completely embarrassing addiction to french fries. Just the idea of warm, crisp potatoes fills me with a sense of euphoria and makes my little mouth salivate like a Pavlovian dog. And nothing calls to the fry addict quite so much as a home baked french fry, redolent in olive oil, Pecorino Romano cheese, garlic and oregano, still bearing the earthy potato peel, soft inside, crisp outside, perfection through and through.

As a lifelong lover of the French fry, it will not come as any surprise that this tendency was even more present during pregnancy. I diligently tried to keep to my good pregnancy nutrition plan, which included far more leafy greens and far less friend food. But every once in a while I couldn't resist the siren song of a good French fry. And when I was busy denying myself for so long, no simple run of the mill ordinary fry would do.

No, if you are going to indulge, you have to indulge in a fry that is bursting with savory flavor, tender on the inside and yet delectably crisp on the outside. Garlic, oregano, sea salt and Pecorino Romano cheese play off that essential potato-y goodness to make a fry that is out of this world.

Garlic Oregano Oven Fries with Pecorino Romano

By The Skinny Gourmet (E. McDonnell)

Serves 2

1 baking potato
1 Tbsp olive oil
1.5 Tbsp gently packed finely shredded, aged Pecorino Romano*
1 large garlic clove, peeled and finely minced
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp sea salt
several turns freshly ground black pepper

* you can certainly use Parmesan here, but I think Pecorino is a more interesting choice that adds an unexpected flavor.

Cut the potato into wedges: First, cut in half lengthwise. Put the flat side down on the cutting board, and then cut into wedges approximately 1/4 inch thick. If too thick, it will cook too slowly. If cut too thin, they will tear when you try to flip them. But the most important thing is to cut them evenly.

While the oven preheats, soak the potato wedges in ice water (fully immersed) to remove excess starch. This will help crisp them in the oven.

After at least 15 minutes of soaking, drain the potatoes and pat them dry thoroughly.

Combine all the remaining ingredients in a medium bowl. Add the wedges and toss to coat. You may want to use a rubber spatula to spread the tasty goodness around. Make sure both sides of each wedge are coated with olive oil.

Lay the wedges out in a single layer on a small jellyroll pan. Because the oil will spread slightly when heated in the oven, a small sheet with edges, like the jellyroll pan, is preferable to a flat cookie sheet. If you desire, grate more finely grated fresh cheese on top.

Bake for 15 minutes on one side at 350. Flip. Bake for another 10 minutes on the second side. Then place the sheet approximately 4-5 inches from the broiler and broil until they reach your desired crispness. Watch closely with your eyes and nose to be sure not to burn the garlic. I found 4 minutes on high boil to be just right in my oven. If you really enjoy crispy fries, you'll want to flip them over and broil them on the other side as well.

Serve with your choice of: mayo, alioli, malt vinegar or ketchup. Or enjoy plain!


Amy said...

Mmm. These sound so good! I love the addition of the cheese.

Kitchen Vixen said...

I have 1 baking potato left in my pantry...guess what I'm having with dinner?! Yum!

Kasia said...

Hi and thanks for the amazing looking recipe!

What should I set the oven temperature at?

Thank you!

Erin said...

Amy: thanks. The cheese really adds something special.

Kitchen Vixen: hope you enjoy!

Kasia: Good catch! I pleed sleepless nights with a newborn. Bake at 350. I've made the correction above as well.

Anonymous said...

I love french fries too - I've been making way too many oven fries lately - and they are again on my menu tonight!!

Thanks for sharing your recipe!

chou said...

Erin, these look wonderful. I have a batch of potatoes thinking about sprouting, this should solve my problem well.

Sara said...

I love love oven baked fries. I like to make them with some olive oil, salt, and herbs de provence OR with some basil and garlic infused olive oil. Good tip for soaking the potatoes, it really does work.

Philip said...

First of all... CONGRATULATIONS! on the birth of your son Liam. :) Yay!

second, I've decided that nothing will die for me for lent so for the next forty days I'm going to be a vegitarian, and the first place I thought to look for great vegitarian recipes was your blog.

Erin, these french fries are going to make an awesome part of tonight's dinner. Thanks so much. :)

Erin said...

Biz, Chou, and Sara: Glad they caught your attention. Always nice to find fellow home-fry enthusiasts.

Philip: What an interesting Lenten pledge. I am giving up chocolate, and for the first time experimenting with the Catholic practice of giving up meat on holy days and fridays (I'm Lutheran, married Catholic). I try to mark all my vegetarian recipes, so you should be able to go through the label "vegetarian" at the sidebar. But it is possible that some of my earlier recipes are not marked as vegetarian, so feel free to browse around. Will you be doing lacto-ovo?

Sherihan said...

Oven fries is the best even better than deep oil fried ones and its healthy for u!!
and these new additions Garlic, oregano and the cheese were amazing, new flavores and sooo yummy, absolote comfort food.thx Erin, (ur blog is really nice by the way).

Philip said...

Erin, The fries were AWESOME!

There's a rumor I heard that once upon a time all meat was forbidden during Lent, and since this seems to be a year of health challenges (ie: doing 90 days of Bikram Yoga) I thought it would be interesting to see what taking meat out of my diet would do. Your recipes are always fun. Thanks. Between you and Deb over at Smitten Kitchen there should be an abundance of great veggie dishes to try. And yes, I've decided that milk and eggs will be ok. :)

Best wishes with your Fridays and Holy Days.

Jescel said...

oh goodie!!! i've been craving french fries myself.. thanks for the idea.

RissyKay said...

I am making these on Friday night and I can't wait! Thanks for the recipe.

Kerstin said...

I love the concept behind your blog!

Your fries look very addicting!

Chef Fresco said...

We made some oven fries recently as well! Only, they were very spicy due to accidental excess of red pepper :) We'll have to try adding cheese next time!

Laura said...

OY. Now I really want some french fries. Talk about an ode to french fries.

When I was pregnant, despite my best intentions, I convinced myself that there was tons of vitamins is more than one white starch. :)

alice said...

These look so good. I plan on making these soon!

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