You know that phenomenon where a certain smell reminds you – vividly – of a past experience? Kinda like… olfactory déjà vu?
I’m currently living with two of those little buggers.
The first is triggered by my gym’s shampoo. Every time I use that stuff, right before my hands reach my head, I’m immediately transported back to seventh-grade science class. Strangest thing – surprises me every time.
The second – and far more relevant – is induced by fries. When I catch just the right whiff of some really good fries, I’m instantly aboard a ski-lift in eastern Arizona, whistling “She Drives Me Crazy” by the Fine Young Cannibals. Again, no idea.
Well, I got that second one to fire a couple nights ago with these oven-fries. Twice. So you know they’re good.
There are two ways to make these fries. One: cook the potatoes plain and toss them in the herbs post-roast. Or two: roast the potatoes with the herbs. Either way works well. If you’re going to use a woody herb like thyme or rosemary, however, roast the herbs with the potatoes – they need the heat to soften them up and release their flavor. Using a delicate herb like parsley or cilantro? Just toss them with the finished fries. They’ll burn-to-shit if you put them in oven. (Done it.)
Also, DO NOT, under any circumstances, move these fries once they enter the oven. Don’t turn them over; don’t shake the tray around; don’t go nibbling for samples. What would you rather have? Oven fries with one perfectly-crispy side and one perfectly-roasted side? Or oven fries with two mostly-soggy sides? Me too.
Parmigiano & Lemon-Thyme Oven-Fries
Makes 16 big-ass fries
Stolen and adapted from Tyler Florence.
- 2 russet potatoes
- 5-6 sprigs lemon-thyme (or herb of your choice), chopped.
- ¼ cup (or slightly less – just eyeball it) olive oil.
- big pinch of salt
- lots of cracked black pepper
- plenty of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated. (I know, expensive. But so worth it.)
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Halve the potatoes, lengthwise. Then, halve the halves, to make quarters. Then, halve the quarters, to make sixteen big fries.
- Toss the fries with the olive oil, salt, and pepper. If using a woody herb like thyme or rosemary, toss those in as well.
- Spread the fries evenly on a sheet tray. Even though there’s plenty of olive oil, give the tray a quick spray with your favorite non-stick spray stuff.
- Roast the potatoes for 30-35 minutes, until golden brown. (Don’t move them around!)
- Remove the fries from the oven and place on a paper towel, to drain, for a minute.
- Before serving, toss the fries in the Parmigiano. If using a delicate herb, toss the fries in those, too.