Do you know what can make my day? A bunch of crispy fried chicken and a few even crispier French fries with a delicious sauce.
I know that is not the healthiest way to cheer up your taste buds, but from time to time, there is nothing wrong with enjoying this bunch of delicious and crispy food items.
But do you know what makes those fries from another planet? The right potato, of course. A large, starchy potato with a low moisture content is everything you need.
A potato that possesses these qualities is the Kennebec potato, a variety that is widely grown and consumed in North America. However, only recently, it gained huge popularity as a potato that makes the perfect Kennebec fries.
But let’s take a closer look.
Making Crispy Kennebec Fries
I am sure that most of you are mainly interested in making your own perfect Kennebec fries, so I will start with the recipe.
- 4 large Kennebec potatoes
- Vegetable oil for frying
- Salt to taste
1. Begin by peeling the Kennebec potatoes and cutting them into evenly-sized sticks or wedges, around 1/2 inch to 3/4 inches thick. Rinse the cut potatoes under cold water to eliminate any excess starch.
2. Place the rinsed potatoes in a large bowl and cover them with cold water. Allow them to soak for approximately 30 minutes. This step aids in removing the starch and achieving crispier fries.
3. While the potatoes are soaking, pour vegetable oil into a large pot or Dutch oven, leaving enough space for oil expansion during frying. Heat the oil over medium-high heat until it reaches 325°F (163°C).
4. Drain the soaked potatoes and pat them dry using a clean kitchen towel or paper towel.
5. In small batches, carefully add the potatoes to the hot oil and fry for about 5 to 6 minutes, or until they attain a pale golden color. Be careful when adding the potatoes to prevent any oil splatter.
6. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, remove the partially fried potatoes from the oil and place them on a wire rack or a plate lined with paper towels to drain any excess oil. Allow them to cool for at least 10 minutes.
7. Increase the heat of the oil to 375°F (190°C).
8. Once the oil is sufficiently heated, return the partially fried potatoes to the oil in small batches and fry for an additional 3 to 4 minutes, or until they become golden brown and crispy. This second frying step is crucial for achieving the desired texture.
9. Use a slotted spoon or tongs to carefully remove the fully fried fries from the oil and place them on a wire rack or a plate lined with paper towels to drain any excess oil.
10. Season the hot fries immediately with salt while they are still fresh from the oil. Gently toss them to evenly distribute the salt.
11. Repeat the frying process with the remaining batches of potatoes until all the fries are done.
12. Serve the Kennebec fries hot and enjoy them with your preferred dipping sauces, such as ketchup, mayonnaise, or aioli.
What Are Kennebec Fries Anyway?
Kennebec fries are actually a type of French fry made from Kennebec potatoes.
The Kennebec potato, named after the Kennebec River in Maine, United States, is a widely cultivated variety that is favored by many restaurants and food establishments for making French fries.
The main reason behind the increasing popularity of Kennebec potatoes is the fact that they have a high starch content and low moisture content, which makes them ideal for frying.
But what does that actually mean? Due to those qualities, French fries made from Kennebec potatoes are perfectly crispy from the outside, while retaining a good balance of tenderness and firmness on the inside. (I also eat potato skin of Kennebeck fries and it’s delicious.)
Also, there is a low probability that they will become limp and soggy. In general, Kennebec potatoes are quite versatile and can hold their shape during cooking, which makes them a preferred choice for various potato dishes.
Some other culinary applications that can incorporate Kennebec fries include mashed potatoes, potato chips, and roasted potatoes.
What Ingredients To Use?
Aside from Kennebec potatoes, cooking oil and seasonings are the ingredients that must be used in order to make delicious and crispy Kennebec fries. So, let’s see what we have on the table.
When you deep-fry something, you need oil. However, you need to choose the right one if you want good and tasty results.
In general, it is important to choose a good quality cooking oil with a fairly high smoke point, so here are a few recommendations:
• Canola Oil: This type of oil is my personal favorite. Not only does it have a mild flavor and a high smoke point, but it is a relatively healthier option because it is low in saturated fats and high in omega-3 fatty acids.
Canola oil won’t go bad easily if you store it the right way, which is also a huge advantage.
• Sunflower Oil: Sunflower oil is another great option for making Kennebec fries and French fries in general. This is because it has a neutral flavor and a high smoke point. However, it is not as healthy as the previous option.
Although it is relatively low in saturated fats, it tends to release some unhealthy compounds when it is heated to high temperatures.
• Peanut Oil: Peanut oil is not as commonly used in our cuisine, but rather in Asian cuisine. However, if you want to try something more exotic, I would recommend this oil.
First, it has a high smoke point, so it is suitable for frying. However, it is not neutral in taste. Instead, it adds a nutty flavor to the fries. So, if you want to try something new, try peanut oil.
• Safflower Oil: This is a lesser known oil option, but it can certainly serve your fries well since it is flavorless and has a high smoke point.
Aside from that, it is low in saturated fats, so it can be considered a healthier option.
• Non-Oil Option: A great thing about making these fries is the fact that you sometimes don’t even need to use oil. Instead, you can try some type of fat, and the one that I recommend is rendered duck fat.
Like the previous oil options, it has a high smoke point which is most important. But besides that, it adds a distinct savory and slightly gamey flavor to the fries, creating a delightful gourmet twist.
If you have any, try duck fat. You certainly won’t end up disappointed.
When it comes to seasonings, there are literally no limits. You can add various herbs and seasonings to enhance the flavor of your fries. Let me recommend a few of them and briefly explain how they influence the overall flavor profile.
• Salt: Salt is a classic and essential seasoning for French fries because it is able to enhance their natural flavors and bring those salty notes everyone craves for.
• Black Pepper: Ground or cracked black pepper adds mild heat and pungency to the fries. It pairs well with the savory flavors of the potatoes.
• Garlic Powder: Garlic powder lends a deliciously savory and aromatic taste to the fries, as well as a subtle garlic flavor.
• Onion Powder: It provides a sweet and savory onion flavor that complements fries, and it adds depth to the overall taste.
• Paprika: If you want to add a touch of smokiness and mild heat to your fries, paprika is the perfect choice. It can also be used in combination with other spices to create a flavorful seasoning blend.
• Cajun Seasoning: Cajun seasoning, a blend of various spices like paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and more, adds a spicy and zesty kick to the fries. It offers a bold and flavorful seasoning option. You can also use substitutes for Cajun seasoning.
• Herbs: Fresh or dried herbs like rosemary, thyme, or parsley can be finely chopped and sprinkled over the fries to add a burst of freshness and herbaceous flavor.
• Seasoned Salt: 1 cup of kosher salt, ¼ tsp citric acid, 1 tbs sugar, and espelette chili flakes are all you need to make flavorful seasoned salt.
This is a classic seasoning that is mainly enjoyed when enjoying a beer.
How Do They Taste?
Although the exact flavor profile of Kennebec fries depends on the exact ingredients used in the cooking process, I will try to explain the main flavor and textures that Kennebec fries have.
There are 5 main traits of Kennebec fries’ flavor profile:
1. Mild Sweetness: Kennebec fries are naturally sweet to some extent, so the fries also have that hint of sweetness. It is not overpowering but provides a pleasant, underlying hint that adds to the overall taste experience.
2. Subtle Earthiness: Kennebec fries has a subtle earthy flavor that is characteristic of many potato varieties. This earthiness is mild and contributes to the overall savory notes of the fries.
3. Buttery Undertones: When cooked, Kennebec fries develop a slight buttery undertone, which adds richness and enhances their overall taste.
This quality makes them especially delightful when paired with melted butter or other butter-based sauces.
4. Clean and Mild: Although there are various flavors in these fries, Kennebec fries are relatively mild, which allows them to absorb and showcase the flavors of any seasonings or sauces used with them.
5. Crispy Exterior, Tender Interior: Due to their high starch and low moisture content, Kennebec fries have a desirable texture with a crispy golden exterior and a tender, fluffy interior.
The contrast between the crunchy outer layer and soft, pillowy interior enhances the eating experience and adds to the overall enjoyment of the fries.
What To Serve With Kennebec Fries?
You honestly don’t have to serve anything with Kennebec fries because they are extremely delicious on their own. However, if you want to add those extra layers of flavor, there are a few excellent recommendations to consider.
• Burgers: Can you imagine anything better than crispy fries alongside a delicious, juicy burger? Serve them alongside a juicy beef burger, a grilled chicken sandwich, or a veggie burger for a satisfying and flavorful meal.
Burgers and French fries are both one of the most eaten foods in the world, so it is easy to conclude that this combination is a top choice.
• Sandwiches and Wraps: You can also serve Kennebec fries as a side for sandwiches and wraps.
Whether it’s a club sandwich, a Philly cheesesteak, a chicken Caesar wrap, or a grilled vegetable sandwich, fries add a delicious and satisfying element to your meal.
• Hot Dogs: Pair Kennebec fries with a delicious hot dog topped with your favorite condiments such as mustard, ketchup, relish, and onions. It’s a classic combination that everyone loves.
• Fish and Chips: Kennebec fries work exceptionally well as a side dish with traditional fish and chips. Serve them alongside crispy battered fish, tartar sauce, and a side of coleslaw for a classic and flavorful combination.
• Steaks and Grilled Meat: Kennebec fries are a fantastic accompaniment to steaks and grilled meats. Serve them alongside a perfectly cooked steak, grilled chicken, pork chops, or BBQ ribs for a hearty and satisfying meal.
• Dipping Sauce: Although they are very delicious on their own, I personally can not imagine them without some good old dipping sauce.
Condiments such as ketchup, mayonnaise, BBQ sauce, ranch dressing, aioli, or cheese roux concentrate all add additional flavors and textures to the fries.
• Salads: If you prefer a lighter option, serve Kennebec fries alongside a fresh salad. They can add a satisfying and crunchy element to the salad, making it more enjoyable.