Chef Palak's French fries

A Five-Day Ferment for Pro French Fries

Chef Palak shares her French fry and curry applesauce recipe with Epicurious.

On the latest episode of Epicurious' 4 Levels series, Chef Palak Patel recommends fermenting potatoes for five days and then double frying them for crispy French fries that are "crunchy, tangy on the inside and sweet." You just need a running start.

Chef Palak demonstrates three key techniques in the process: brining, fermentation and blanching. She slices her potatoes with a mandolin, double fries the shoestrings for extra crispiness and purees her applesauce with a high-speed blender. Her flavor layering combines dill and parsley for brightness and carrot for natural sweetness, and she incorporates an Indian spice that's good for you.

Chef Palak warns when you "smell a lot of funkiness, that's fermentation at work." Watch the video for more insight into her pro approach, and get the recipe below.

Recipe

Herbed Fermented Fries

Yields 4 servings

Ingredients

For the French fries:

  • 5 tablespoons kosher salt, plus more
  • 3 1/2 pounds large red-skin potatoes
  • 4 leaves Napa cabbage
  • 1/2 cup dill, chopped
  • 1/2 cup parsley, chopped
  • 6 cups grapeseed oil

For the curry applesauce:

  • 3 Granny Smith apples
  • 1 celery, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Pinch chili flakes
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • Kosher salt to taste

Directions

For the French fries:

  1. Scrub potatoes and cut into 1/4-inch-thick sticks.
  2. Combine salt and 8 cups water in a large bowl or pot, stirring until salt dissolves.
  3. Add potatoes, 1/4 cup herbs (dill and parsley) and cabbage (potatoes should sink, but some of the cabbage leaves may float).
  4. Cover bowl and store in a cool, dark place (a kitchen cabinet or pantry is ideal) for 4–6 days; the longer the potatoes sit, the funkier the flavor will be.
  5. Drain and pat potatoes dry; discard cabbage leaves.
  6. Fit a large pot with thermometer and pour in oil to measure 3 inches up sides of pot. Heat oil over medium-high until thermometer registers 325 F.
  7. Working in batches (you want potatoes to have room to move around), fry potatoes until cooked through and tender but not browned, about 5 minutes. Using a spider or a slotted spoon, transfer fries to paper towels to drain as they are done.
  8. Heat oil until thermometer registers 375 F. Working in batches again, refry potatoes until crisp (the edges may brown, but fries will mostly stay pretty light), about 1 minute per batch. Transfer to fresh paper towels to drain; sprinkle with salt (because of the brine, you won’t need to add much). Top with remaining herbs.

For the curry applesauce:

  1. Add apples, apple cider vinegar, celery, carrot, garlic and spices with sugar.
  2. Cook down and puree.
  3. Serve alongside fries.

Make your own moules frites in a French cooking class at our New York campus.

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