Fries are made by cutting up potatoes into either sticks or wedges and deep frying them in oil. Fries are usually first partially cooked in boiling water or oil at a very low heat, then fried at around 350 degrees in oil to give them a crunchy exterior while still maintaining a soft middle. There are several different cuts of fries and ways to prepare them -- check out some of the most popular options here.
French fries are the most common form of fries -- they are potato sticks cut straight, no more than an inch in thickness. They are then deep fried and tossed in salt. Other potential seasonings include pepper, parsley and garlic. French fries are often served with ketchup or mayonnaise.
The waffle fry is one of the most popular types. They can be thick, making them perfect for dipping in ketchup, or they can be as thin as a potato chip. Waffle fries are very easy to make -- all you need is to use a crinkle-cut blade when slicing the potato to give the fries their distinct waffle-like appearance..
A great way to add flavor to regular cut or crinkle-cut fries is gooey cheese. Melting down cheese and mixing it with cream and a touch of flour gives a thick, cheesy topping to pour over freshly-baked fries. If you want to add some extra flavor to your cheese fries, throw in some bacon bits, finely chopped chives and minced garlic.
Potato wedges are thick cuts of potatoes that have been cut lengthwise. They can be deep fried or oven-roasted and tend to be seasoned with salt, pepper and herbs such as thyme, rosemary and smoked paprika. Potato wedges are generally less crispy than regular french fries and have a very soft interior, so they're best as a side for a dinner dish rather than as the base for poutine.
Curly fries are fries that are shaped almost like onion rings. To make these, you just cut a potato to your desired thickness with a curly fry cutter. Thinner curly fries are better off baked while the thicker cuts should be deep fried.
If you want to make something special for the kids, there's no better choice than smiley fries. Smiley fries have a very soft interior while offering a nice crunch on the outside. These fries take a little longer to prepare because you have to create your own dough, roll it out and cut out the fries, but the end result is worth it.
Tater tots were originally created as a way of using the scraps from sliced potatoes. The leftover pieces were mashed together, formed into their bite-sized shape, cooked in oil and frozen. Tater tots are very crispy and light, and they are generally served with ketchup or other dipping sauces.
Poutine is a very popular dish that originated in Quebec, Canada. Crispy French fries are covered with cheese curds and a heavy dose of gravy is poured over the entire dish. The cheese melts onto the fries and mixes with the gravy to make a delicious (and incredibly unhealthy) treat.
Like with waffle fries, crinkle cut fries need a crinkle cutter to achieve the desired shape. The potato is cut into half-inch sized strips that are either baked or fried, depending on preference. Crinkle cut fries go well with burgers and barbecued ribs.
In Belgium, it's common to serve regular French fries with sauce andalouse, a dipping sauce that combines mayonnaise, tomato paste, lemon juice and chopped peppers. The saltiness of the fries pairs well with the sweet and slightly acidic mayonnaise. Sauce andalouse is quite thick, so you won't need too much of it with a serving of fries.