Even though the name says it, Belgium and France have been in a forever battle of ownership of this world known and delicious food.
It seems that the belgians invented the deep frying potato technique and the word “french” was introduced when british and american soldiers arrived in Belgium during World War I. Because half of the country speaks french the soldiers thought they were actually in France. In fact in Belgium they call them frietjes or vlaamse frietjes (flemish fries).
I like to believe this story mainly because I’ve tried french fries in France and Belgium and you can tell how the belgian fries are notoriously better in taste and consistence. And also because through history we can see how France LOVES to just take things from other countries and make them their own (for example croissants that are originally from Austria, or the Napoleon empire).
I know what you’re thinking: What’s the difference? It’s just a deep fryed potato. Well there is a secret and I will now share it with you: It’s all about the oil temperature and you have to fried them TWICE.
Step by step
First fill the pan a little bit more than halfway with oil (it can be any kind of oil you want). No more than 3/4. Heat it to 160ºC / 320ºF. It’s better that you use a electric fryer to easily control the temperature.
Cut the potatoes in sticks 1/2 inch wide and 2 1/2 to 3 inches long. Wash them and dry them very well with a clean towel. Separate them in batches of aprox. 1 cup each.
When the oil is ready, fry each batch for 4 to 5 minutes. Make sure the temperature always stays in 160ºC / 320ºF.
When you’re finish let them cool at room temperature for at least an hour. If your having them for lunch you can fry them in the morning and let them rest till it’s time to eat.
When you’re almost ready to serve them heat the oil to 190ºC / 375ºC and boil them in batches the same size as before but for only 2 minutes. Place them in a bowl with paper towel and add salt. It’s important to never cover the potatoes or they will loose the crunchy.
Serve and enjoy!!!
TIP: For the REAL BELGIAN experience eat them with mayonnaise, not ketchup. Belgians love mayonnaise and the ketchup in the fries I think is something the americans came up with.
If you go to Belgium or The Netherlands try them with one of the locals favorite: Joppie Sauce.