Another simple dinner: fish and chips. The fries are homemade, the fish is from a box (a fabulous deal from my recent foray into the crazy world of couponing). I hesitate to even call this a recipe. My prep time: 15 minutes. Baking time: 30 minutes.
I have made my own deep-fried fish, but let’s face it, deep frying is pain. But making oven fries is easy, so that’s one less bag of frozen food to resort to. And conveniently, the frozen fish and your homemade fries bake at the same temperature. Bring out the tartar sauce, ketchup or malt vinegar, and you’ve got yourself a fast, finger-friendly dinner.
These fries are soft, not crispy. I think I remember reading some technique in Cooks’ Illustrated for getting crispy oven fries, but since the kids are not regular fast food fry eaters (we usually opt for the apples in those Happy Meals), they are content with soft fries. I like to use a waxy potato (in our stores, pretty much anything but a big baking potato) so that the fries hold their shape. I find that smaller potatoes are perfect. It doesn’t take long to slice them into fries, and there’s no need to peel their thin skins.
Heat the oven to 425 degrees (turn on the convection if you’ve got it). Rinse 4-6 medium potatoes. Cut them into 1/2-inch fries (I sliced these in quarters lengthwise, then sliced those into fries). They don’t have to be perfect, but if they’re roughly the same size, they’ll all cook at the same rate.
I lined my baking sheet with a silicone mat, but you could use foil or nothing at all. I just find that they stick a little less on the mat. Drizzle the fries with a couple tablespoons of olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. I also added some granulated garlic and paprika. (You know those curly fries at Arby’s? I was thinking of those.) Toss the fries, oil and spices with your hands so everything is well distributed, and spread them out in a single even layer. Bake the fries for about 30 minutes, stirring once or twice, until tender and golden brown.