March 19, 2019 by John Fernandez
A Healthy Version of ‘Fries’: Bistro-Style Roasted Potatoes
If there’s one thing Americans expect on their plate, it’s potatoes — or, more specifically, French fries.
Of the 114 pounds of potatoes consumed annually per person in the United States, most are processed, largely into frozen French fries, according to the National Potato Council. “Most people eat fries without even thinking about it,” said Rod Knight, executive chef at West Kendall Baptist Hospital.
In part, we’ve been trained to expect spuds as a side by fast-food establishments and restaurants, which typically load every plate with a mountain that equates to not one but several servings of fries. “From a restaurateur’s perspective, fries are easy and inexpensive,” Chef Knight explained.
There are many healthy and delicious options that can make great sides for our meals, from greens and roasted Brussels sprouts to mashed butternut squash, Chef Knight said. But if your family clamors for fries every now and again, you can create a healthy version from fresh potatoes with a few extra steps. (See recipe below.)
“When you boil the potatoes with the baking soda, it changes the pH balance and roughs up the outer layer,” Chef Knight explained. “Then when baked, you get that crispy feel that you expect with French fries — only better for you.”
Bistro-Style Roasted Potatoes
■ Pinch kosher salt
■ ½ teaspoon baking soda
■ 4 pounds russet or Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into steak fries
■ 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
■ 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
■ Freshly ground black pepper
■ Fresh parsley and chives for garnish
- Preheat oven to 450ºF.
- Boil 2 quarts of water in a large pot, then add the kosher salt, baking soda and potatoes and give a quick stir. Return to a full boil, then turn heat down to a simmer.
- Cook potatoes until a fork meets little resistance when inserted into a wedge, approximately 10 minutes. Do not overcook. When ready, drain potatoes and let the excess water evaporate, about a minute.
- Working in batches, transfer the potatoes, half at a time, to a bowl and toss with olive oil (reserve some for finishing). This is the important step: agitate vigorously, taking care not to break the fries. What looks like a layer of mashed potato paste will coat each fry.
- Transfer potatoes to a large baking sheet, keeping wedges separate and spreading them out evenly. Place in oven and roast undisturbed for approximately 20 minutes.
- With a thin spatula, flip the potatoes and give them a good shake to ensure they don’t stick. Continue roasting for 30-40 minutes with periodic turning and shaking, until potatoes turn brown and are crisp on all sides.
- Transfer potatoes to a large bowl and add garlic, parsley, black pepper and remaining olive oil. Toss to mix ingredients. Serve immediately.
Makes 6 servings, approximately one cup each.
Calories, 356; fat, 14g; saturated fat, 2g; carbohydrates, 54g; fiber, 7g; sugars, 2g; protein, 6g; sodium, 144mg.