Chips with everything

From black radish to salsify these are frites as you have never eaten them before

Author: Anne de la Forest

Frites. French fries, chips. Key ingredient? Potatoes surely. Not, according to Anne de la Forest who edits a French food magazine and spent four years researching frites. The result is a tantalising delicious book packed with extraordinary and mouthwatering ideas for making chips using all kinds of ingredients from polenta to feta (and including potatoes). In the French tradition the book is filled with illustrations showing the best way to cut chips, the key kit you need to make them and, charmingly, drawings of how chips should look (according to Escoffier). Here are a couple of taster recipes to be getting along with.

Thyme and parmesan frites

  • 1 kg (2.2 lb) of Nicola potatoes
  • 2 tsp of parmesan, grated
  • 1 tsp of dried thyme
  • 3 tbsp of olive oil sea salt crystals
  • freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 180 °C (350°F /gas 4). Peel the potatoes and soak them in cold water. Rinse thoroughly and, using a knife, cut thick, wide slices that you can then cut into fairly chunky sticks (about 12 mm/½ in wide). Rinse the sticks again, dry carefully with a clean, dry cloth and put them in a large bowl. Pour over the olive oil and stir well to make sure they are all coated. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and the thyme then put the oiled frites carefully into a freezer bag. Close it tightly and shake thoroughly so that the cheese and herbs stick to the frites. Open the bag to add salt and pepper. Close and shake thoroughly again. Spread out on a baking sheet covered with greaseproof (parchment) paper. Cook in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. Check the seasoning at the end of the cooking time and enjoy immediately.

Carrot Frites

  • 1 kg (2.2 lb) of carrots
  • 2 litres (8½cups) of cooking oil
  • Sea salt crystals

Heat the fryer to 170°C (338°F). Peel and wash the carrots. Rinse them well and dry carefully with a clean, dry cloth. Cut the carrots into long, thick pieces using a kitchen knife, then cut them again to make fine sticks about 1 cm (½ in) wide. Rinse the carrots once more and dry carefully. If you are using small young carrots, you could fry them whole with their greens on. Tip the carrot sticks into the basket and cook for 5 minutes, keeping a close watch. Lift out the basket and drain the frites on a plate lined with kitchen paper. Remove the paper. Salt generously and enjoy whilst nice and hot. These go well with Tartar sauce

Top Tip

If the carrots are too firm for your taste, try blanching them first. Drop them into boiling water for 5 minutes. You will need to keep a careful eye on the frying time; 3 or 4 minutes should be enough.

Extracted from Frites: Over 30 Gourmet Recipes by Anne de la Forest, Jacqui Small LLP (15 May 2014).