The which-style-of-fry-is-the-best debate is ongoing in my house. I like fries that are a bit more crispy and I am not picky about shape, my husband on the other hand likes his fries softer and he really likes potato wedges. Being the kind of girl I am I thought, “well, we can have it both ways.” A couple of easy tricks will give you oven fries that are crispy on the outside and soft in the middle. Give them a stylish addition in the form of a little grated parmesan cheese and a lemon thyme aioli and you have a side dish that is perfectly at ease in a gastro pub or sitting at your kitchen table.
2 Russet Potatoes
3 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 tablespoon Kosher Salt
1 1/2 teaspoons Pepper
1/3 cup Parmesan, finely grated
Lemon Thyme Aioli:
1 Lemon, zested and juiced
2 Egg Yolks
1 large Clove of Garlic
1 tablespoon fresh Thyme Leaves
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1/4 cup Canola or Vegetable Oil
1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons Salt
3/4 teaspoon Pepper
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Place a foil lined sheet pan in the oven and once the temperature has reached 400°F set the timer for 10 minutes.
In the meantime, scrub the potatoes well under running water to make sure the skin is clean. Take each potato and cut it in half lengthwise. Cut each of those halves into quarters lengthwise and then cut the quarters in half crosswise so you have 16 wedges from each potato. Place the wedges in a medium sized bowl and toss with the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Reserve the parmesan in another medium sized bowl for use later.
Once the sheet pan has heated for 10 minutes, open the oven and spray the foil (unless you are using non-stick foil) on the sheet pan with cooking spray (Pam). Quickly (you want to maintain as much heat as possible) arrange the potato wedges in a single layer on the foil and close the oven. Set your timer for 35 minutes.
To make the aioli, combine the egg yolks, garlic, thyme leaves, salt (start with 1 1/2 teaspoons, you can add more at the end if you need to), pepper, lemon zest and lemon juice in either a small food processor bowl, a blender, or the tall mixing cup that came with your hand held immersion blender (my favorite tool for the job). Place your oils in a liquid measuring cup and have them standing by. Begin pureeing the ingredients and once the garlic has been broken down begin to slowly drizzle in your oils. The finished product will be thick like mayonnaise. Taste for seasoning and add more salt if you feel the flavors aren’t “bright” enough, remember that salt is a flavor amplifier (see Take it with a Grain of Salt for more information on salt). Refrigerate until you are ready to serve.
When the timer goes off on your potato wedges carefully flip all of them over. The side that was against the foil should have a nice golden color. Place them back in the oven and set your timer for another 20 minutes. When the timer goes off the second time, remove your wedges from the oven and toss them in the bowl with the parmesan to give them an even coating.
Grab your aioli and get to dipping. Enjoy!
Tips and Tricks:
If you like your food to have a bit of a kick you can add about 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper to the aioli.
Another good herb to use would be basil, just give it a rough chop before you get to blending your ingredients.
Leftover aioli makes a good sandwich spread. It also pairs well with fish and chicken. You could even dip potato chips in it.
The amount of aioli should be enough for you to double or triple the amount of potatoes if you have a crowd.
Serves 4 people (or 2 if your husband really likes potato wedges).