ARBY’S CURLY FRIES

According to recent polls, these fries are considered either the #1 or #2 best fast-food fries in America—they flip-flop with McDonald’s for the top spot (which I call ”Lord of the Fries”). Much of what I know about how Arby’s makes these fries comes from an episode of Food Network’s Unwrapped that reveals what the potatoes go through during the automated prep process at a ConAgra Foods processing plant in Southern Washington. The potatoes are sliced at high speed, then they rush down a conveyor where they are blanched in hot water for 20 minutes to deactivate an enzyme in the potatoes that turns them brown and to help create the perfect texture when the potatoes are fried. The potatoes are then battered, par-fried for 30 seconds, frozen, and shipped to each Arby’s restaurant where the cooking process is completed with a final frying step.

My process at home is simple and incorporates all these steps, but you will need to get yourself a curly fry slicer if you want fries that look just like those at Arby’s. The one I used here from Progressive makes perfect slices and costs around 30 bucks. If you don’t want to pony up for a slicer, you can also use this recipe with fries that are sliced on a mandoline or by hand. They won’t be curly, but they’ll still have the same amazing flavor and crispiness.

1 medium russet potato
6 to 12 cups vegetable oil


BATTER
3½ ounces (⅔ cup) all-purpose flour
2½ tablespoons paprika
1¼ teaspoons salt
¾ teaspoon garlic powder
¾ teaspoon onion powder
¾ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup water


Cooking method

1-Cut off both ends of the potato, then slice the potato in a spiral curly fry slicer.

2-Remove the odd-shape little bits of potato and the slices that are too thin with the skin on them. Drop the rest into a large bowl and cover with water as hot as you can get it from your tap. Let the potato slices sit in the water for 20 minutes, then strain.

3-While the potato soaks in the water, preheat the oil in a deep fryer or a large saucepan with a thermometer attached to 375 degrees F.

4-Make the batter by whisking together the dry ingredients in a large bowl, then whisk in the water until smooth.

5-Drop the sliced potatoes into the batter and gently coat all of the pieces. Arrange the coated fries on a rack or screen so that the excess batter can drip off.

6-When the oil is hot, par-fry the fries for 30 seconds in batches, then freeze them for at least 2 hours. You can keep the fries for several days in a sealed container in the freezer at this point and finish the frying later, or go ahead and fry them now.

7-When you are ready to finish the fries, preheat the oil to 350 degrees F. Fry the fries for 2½ to 3 minutes or until crispy. Remove to a rack or paper towel–lined plate and lightly salt the fries. Serve them right away

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