French Fries and Donuts

by in View All Posts, June 23rd, 2009

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What is the best thing you’ve ever eaten? I know what you’re thinking. Today? This week? Ever?? Well, Food Network’s newest show, The Best Thing I Ever Ate, asks Food Network stars to divulge their favorite foods by food type, and tells you where to find them. In case you missed the sneak peek last week, it was all about : Fried Foods. So, what’s the best fried food you’ve ever eaten?

duff-goldman_medWatching the show, I took notes on eateries I’d like to visit and unusual foods I might or might not want to try (Fried shrimp heads, Duff? Really?). But at the end I was just plain hungry, craving my two favorite foods: French fries and donuts. I dove into our site and decided to satisfy my fried foods craving – my “best foods” craving – at home.

I have to admit I consider myself somewhat of a fried food expert, having done some time in amusement-park-like fast food service (Fried Twinkies, anyone?). The trick to successful deep fat frying is getting and keeping the right oil temperature: Too hot, and you you’ll burn the outside before your food is even warm in the middle; too cool, and the food will soak up oil like a sponge. To get the right temperature, Jamie Oliver and other chefs will tell you to throw a piece of bread into hot oil and see how long it takes to brown. But for those of us not skilled at gauging the toastiness of bread, a deep fry thermometer is a necessity.

alton-brown_medBobby chose Balthazar’s fries as his favorite fried food, but all his fry recipes online are grilled fries. I decided Alton was my best bet and hunted down his recipe for double-fried fries. This is the first time I’ve ever made French fries this way, and they turned out amazing. If you’re going to go to the work of heating up oil and slicing potatoes, this really is the only way to cook them. I used regular vegetable oil, instead of Balthazar’s peanut oil or Alton’s safflower oil, and they turned out great.

Here are the fries after their first blanching.
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And here they are after their second frying, all toasted up and ready to eat. I made a Cajun spiced ketchup to dip them in.
fried-food_4

fried-food_31While I had the oil hot and ready, I couldn’t resist trying Giada’s super simple Italian donuts. I didn’t even use a rolling pin or a cookie cutter – just patted a hunk of pizza dough out to about 1/2 inch thickness and then cut it into small squares. When they came out of the oil I sprinkled them with cinnamon sugar. (Another deep fat frying tip: Sprinkle sugar, salt or any other toppings on when fried food is fresh out of the hot oil – it will stick better while the oil is wet.) They made great donut holes!

I’m proud to say that these were some of the best fried foods I’ve ever made or eaten. Tonight’s premiere episode is all about bar-b-que, so get ready to dig in at 9:30pm/8:30c!

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Comments (15)

  1. Lana Banana says:

    Hi Kirsten, I saw the bulk of that episode too. It was an enjoyable program! Light-hearted and humorous, yet informative too. Well, a bit informative. Nice tip on the double-fry french fry – it is, in fact, the only way to go.

    I was interested in those fried brussels sprouts too! Do you have Michael Symon’s recipe for those?

  2. Kirsten says:

    Hi Lana,
    I agree, those brussels sprouts looked great! We don’t have Michael’s recipe, but this one looks good to me: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/michael-symon/little-cabbage-salad-recipe/index.html

  3. Robin Koury says:

    Deep Fried foods are near and dear to my heart. I’ve been craving Giada’s donuts since Sunday night. The cranberry and mascarpone dipping sauces looked divine! I also think Ted Allen’s bacon tempura was fabulously indulgent. I love the series and with just 2 episodes I’ve already taken plenty of notes of must-visit places!

  4. Lana Banana says:

    Robin, when you take your tour of these restaurants, gimme a call. You just got yourself a travel buddy! lol

    Kirsten, total score on the “little cabbage salad.” I’ll give it a whirl. Just think how yummy it would be with fried onions sprinkled on top? Or fried pork rinds? *smiles*

  5. Gwen says:

    This is my favorite new show on FN! I so enjoyed getting to see the different foods as well as the chefs/cooks letting their hair down and show us the foods they really love. Aaron Sanchez was hilarious when he was talking about the fried brussels sprouts as was Danny Boomes in the next episode. Thanks for writing about it!

  6. Naomi says:

    Best french fries: Thrasher's, Ocean City, Maryland
    Best donuts ever: West Goshen Fire Company, West Chester, PAhttp://www.goshenfireco.org/index.php?option=com_

  7. joe says:

    awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

  8. ghoaweke says:

    This is the penalise French Fries and Donuts | FN Dish – Food Network Blog diary for anyone who wants to act out out nigh this substance. You mark so often its almost effortful to represent with you (not that I really would want…HaHa). You definitely put a new twist on a matter thats been inscribed nigh for life. Squeamish choke, simply outstanding!

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