Oven-baked Garlic Fries with Garlic Aioli

Kristen & Joseph Llobrera

Oven-baked fries can often be soggy and lackluster compared to their fried counterparts, but these fries come out of the oven crispy and golden thanks to a little trick we learned from America’s Test Kitchen. Soaking the potatoes in hot water before baking removes some of the starch, while covering them in the oven for the first few minutes of baking ensures a creamy interior without sacrificing the crisp exterior. What could possibly make these fries even better? How about an easy, lightened up garlic aioli?

The list of ingredients may seem long. Most of it is seasoning, which is really up to you and your preferences. We used what we had on hand and what seemed appropriate. It can be as simple as just salt and pepper, or if you like ‘em spicy, you can add cayenne or chili pepper flakes.

Ingredients

Fries ingredients:

  • 3 potatoes (we like Yukon Golds), washed and dried
  • 5 T vegetable oil or peanut oil (optional: swap 1 T oil for 1 T rendered duck fat)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¾ t. salt
  • ¼ t. ground black pepper
  • ½ T dried rosemary
  • ½ T dried thyme
  • ½ T dried oregano
  • 1 t. smoked paprika
  • ½ t. mustard powder
  • ¼ t. chili powder
  • ¼ t. ground cumin
  • ½ T fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • ½ T fresh rosemary

Light garlic aioli ingredients:

  • 2 T light mayonnaise
  • 2 T fat free Greek yogurt
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed

Preparation

For the aioli, combine the mayonnaise, yogurt, and garlic in a small bowl, mixing with a fork. Set aside or refrigerate until fries are ready to serve.

Place an oven rack at the lowest position and heat the oven to 475˚.

Heat the 3 cloves of garlic and 1 T oil in a small saucepan over medium heat for 2 minutes. Strain the garlic from the oil with a small mesh strainer. Set both garlic and oil aside.

Cut each potato lengthwise into ¼” slices, then cut each slice into ¼” fries (if using a mandolin slicer, attach French fry blade and set thickness to ¼”). In a large bowl, cover potato slices with hot tap water and soak for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, coat a 12×18″ heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet with 4 T oil, sprinkle evenly with the salt and pepper, and set aside.

Drain the potatoes and then dry them by spreading out on a triple layer of paper towels. Use additional paper towels to pat them dry.

Rinse and wipe out the now-empty bowl.  Return the potatoes to the bowl and toss with the dried rosemary, thyme, oregano, smoked paprika, mustard powder, chili powder, ground cumin, and the 1 T oil used to heat garlic earlier.

Arrange the potatoes in single layer on the prepared baking sheet, cover tightly with foil, and bake for 5 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake until the bottoms of the potatoes start to turn golden brown, 15-20 minutes, rotating baking sheet after 10 minutes for even browning.

Scrape the pan with a spatula and tongs to loosen potatoes from the pan, then turn the fries over, keeping them in a single layer. Continue baking until the fries are golden and crisp, 10-15 minutes longer, rotating pan as needed if fries are browning unevenly. Transfer the fries to a second baking sheet lined with paper towels to drain.

Toss with the garlic, parsley, and rosemary. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve with light aioli dip.