At first I thought this was another recipe from Southern Living, but it’s actually from Cooking Light. I was a little dismayed to realize this because I’ve not had the best of luck with the few Cooking Light recipes I’ve tried. But we had the ingredients and we needed a post for this place – so the challenge was clearly whether or not these “light” fries were any good. It didn’t take long to realize that yes, oh man yes, they sure are.
This recipe makes a ton of yummy french fries, which are of course baked instead of fried, making them a bit more figure-friendly. Woohoo for that! Wait till you see how much we got out of four baking potatoes. Baking potatoes are like the compact rice of the tuber world. Once you start cutting them up for slender fries, it’s as if the things multiply on their own.
This is only about half the cut fries in this pic. And look what decided to join them – parsley and garlic and cheese! Ooooh myyy.
Just like with those frozen fries you’ve got squirreled away for the kiddos, these need to be baked in a single layer to maximize browning. Halfway through or so, they get the flip treatment, which, yeah, is hard to do when the pan is this full. Just do your best.
We ended up using two cookie sheets and look at all the fry bounty going on here! I mean, hello – chomp!
OK, so here’s the fun part, seasoning them on up. Believe it or not, this light recipe calls for a little bit of real butter! Yeah, buddy! Not much, just enough to help coat the fries a little and give the parsley, salt and garlic something to adhere to. The smells while the fries are baking starts to get tempting, but by this time you’ll really need to hold your hungry tummy back. Cooking the garlic a little in the butter adds tons of flavor to the fries.
It’s amazing how large these taste with so few ingredients. And while those frozen ones the kids like so much are a necessary time-saver, Lord knows I’ve taken advantage, these beat ’em for the simple fact that they are fresh. It makes all the difference and is a big part of why it’s worth it when you have the time to try baked fries from scratch. Thanks to a little fresh-minced garlic and parsley, they don’t have to be boring either.
from Cooking Light, September 2007
Prep Time: 20 minutes Cook Time: 50 minutes Level: Easy Serves: 6-8
- 4 teaspoons canola oil
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 pounds peeled baking potatoes, cut into 1/4-inch-thick strips and drained on paper towels
- Cooking spray
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 8 garlic cloves, minced (about 5 teaspoons)
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Combine first 3 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag, tossing to coat. Arrange potatoes in a single layer on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for 50 minutes or until potatoes are tender and golden brown, turning after 20 minutes.
Place butter and garlic in a large nonstick skillet, and cook over low heat 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add potatoes, parsley, and Parmesan cheese to pan; toss to coat. Serve immediately.
We decided to add in the draining of the cut, unbaked fries on paper towels because our potatoes produced a lot more liquid than expected. They were almost too moist and therefore a little more in the limp McDonald’s style. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing; some people love the softer fries. Just know that if you want yours a little more crisp, you might want to drain the just-cut potatoes on some paper towels for a few minutes. Once we tossed them with the canola oil and salt, they got very wet and it wasn’t the oil.