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Friday, April 17, 2009

Almost Summer Best: Burgers and Fries

It's that time of year when the lingering hours of daylight draw us outside in the evening to enjoy the warmth and, in my area, see and be seen.

What could better welcome summer temperatures than burgers and fries, done at home, better than the restaurant?

As with all recipes that are simple in preparation, burgers must begin with high quality beef.

If you're lucky like me, you'll win a giveaway from this super-awesome company La Cense beef. They are advocates for grass fed beef and are a part of this great web community that you should join, the Grass Fed Party.



We did these burgers inside on a cast iron griddle (this one) but it would be best outside over charcoal of course.

Get your pan nice and hot. Salt the burger on one side and flop that side down into the pan. Cook it there until half of it is done (or is as done as you want), flip it over, cook the other half with cheese on top if you want it, and toss into the microwave until your buns are toasted, which we do in the same pan.

Now for the fries. I don't have a frier and don't fry very often, but I've learned how to do french fries really well. The secret is to do two rounds of frying.

Get your oil warming up while you slice up the taters. I use a mandoline, because it's awesomely fast and scary. (This one was cheap, too, not more than $15)




Keep the slices in cold water until you have them all cut up.




Once you've got all the potatoes sliced up (we use around one potato per person) place them on a kitchen towel to dry. Getting them dry is very very important. Water+frying oil=pain.




First, preheat your oil (we use canola) to 350 F. Use an electric fryer, or a thick pan with a heavy bottom. I'm using my french oven. (I'm cheap and do this in as little oil as possible. It's really better to give them lots of room.)



Fry the potatoes for 2-3 minutes. They should be floppy, opaque, and soft.

Do in small batches, being careful not to crowd the pan and cool the oil too much. I layer paper towels on sheet pans, and put a cooling rack on top. This lets the fries drip the oil pretty freely and is easy to clean up.

After you've precooked all the fries, crank your oil up to 375 F. Again drop the potatoes in in small batches. They should really bubble up.



Take these out and set them on the same cooling rack, replacing the paper towels if needed.

Salt immediately. I have found that surprisingly for me regular table salt does a better job at seasoning french fries than kosher salt, which is what I prefer for most of my cooking. Salting as soon as they're pulled out of the oil is extremely important, and I've found the small grain of iodized salt adheres better.

Et voila.



I like to serve these with a chili lime aioli. I just crush up some garlic cloves and salt using my chef's knife (I'd really prefer a big mortar a pestle, but, well, soon.) add this to my favorite store mayo, Veganaise, and stir in a few shakes of chili powder and a big squeeze of lime juice.



I have made this again since these photos and it turned out even better the second time. I actually cooked some of the fries once and then put them in the refrigerator and finished them the next day with no apparent compromise in quality.

Have this with a beer. (good, better, best)

Making burgers and fries this way is so much better than going to a restaurant, and it's quite easy once you get the hang of it.

Now get out there and enjoy!

2 comments:

Joelen said...

Mmm... burgers and fries - a winning meal any time of year!

Scoop said...

I love your kitchen gadgets, especially the cast iron pot and skillet. If you have the time. I'd like to hear your review of the indoor skillet. I'm toying with the idea of buying one because I see it used all the time on Food Network and wondered if "normal everyday cooks" really used them in lieu of outdoor BBQing.

The burger looks tasty too! Congrats on winning the giveaway.

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