A while back I was watching America’s Test Kitchen, and one of the recipes they made on the episode was for extra fluffy mashed potatoes. What I thought was interesting about the recipe was that instead of boiling the potatoes like you normally would. They ended up steaming the potatoes using a metal colander in a large pot.
It seemed like a very interesting cooking technique for potatoes. So it got me to thinking how I could apply steamed potatoes to a different dish. Why not french fries? I never really cared for the normal double fry technique, and have had moderate success with parboiling the fries before frying. So why not give steaming the potatoes a try. Well easier said then done.
Since the ATK recipe was for mashed potatoes, there was going to have to be some testing on my end to adapt the recipe for french fries. Starting with the original recipe directions. I steamed the first batch of fries for 20 minutes, with a water rinse after about 10 minutes of steaming. That batch of potatoes ended up basically turning into mashed potatoes in the colander. When those potatoes were fried in 350F vegetable oil, they completely fell apart in the oil.
For the second batch of fries, I steamed those for 15 minutes with a water rinse after the steaming was done. They were a bit firmer after the steaming, but it was still cooked too much before it even got to the fryer. When those were fried they turned out a little bit better, but you still didn’t get much of the expected french fry taste. Plus some of the fries almost had a hollow matrix texture, which was very strange. (Pictures posted for the 15 min fries.)
So it looks like it is back to the drawing board on the steaming times. I’ll probably give it a whirl with steam times of 5 and 10 minutes, and report back with the results. But I have another really good recipe for coated steak fries from Cook’s Country, in which you cook the potatoes in the microwave before hitting the fryer. But either way, the finished product from steaming so far isn’t ready for prime time just yet.