On my first trip to France when I was in high school I had my first pommes frites (a.k.a. French fries) and I was amazed that they were better than McDonald’s. To this day there is probably nothing more popular at a supper club meal than homemade French fries.
Growing up my mother made French fries and to honest they were not great. She could never get them consistently crispy. Mom used an old stove top fry pot that was small and probably dangerous. I can never remember her having a problem with a grease fire but I do remember soggy fries and never having enough to keep her family of five happy.
The key to making a perfect fry is to do what the French and McDonalds do. You have to cook them twice. McDonald’s pre-cooks their fries and then flash freezes them. Then they pop the frozen fries into hot oil at the store to finish them up. Served hot they are the gold standard for fries. The classic French preparation is pretty much the same. You pre-cook them, let them cool and then cook them a second time to get the targeted crispness. While not everyone is a Francophile, just about everyone loves good French fries.
The second solution to my mother’s quandary was quantity. I have built a fry station on my back patio using a propane fryer with an 11 quart pot (12″ X 5″). Combining a mandolin to cut the fries with the fryer has allowed me to keep a crowd of 30 well fed.
My neighbor Howard Johnson (His wife Jan still calls him HoJo) and I host an annual neighborhood Oktoberfest. Howard used to work for a company that made sausage casings. He had a ready source of bratwurst and I did the grilling. One year I added homemade French fries at the last minute. The next year I skipped the fries and almost had a neighborhood revolt. While folks liked the brats, they love the French fries.
Serve homemade French fries at your next supper club and you will make everyone happy.
If you enjoy this blog and similar other stories/supper club lessons subscribe to get future blogs at www.impromptufridaynights.com/blog and be on the look out for my book Impromptu Friday Nights a Guide to Supper Clubs. Morgan James Publishing published the Kindle-Version on September 5, 2017 and the hard copy coming out January 30, 2018.