I was kind of shocked when I realized I didn’t have a recipe for good, old-fashioned boardwalk fries here on the site. It’s shameful really. Sure, I have oven fries (which employ the same soaking technique I’ll touch on later) and fish & chips…but I needed to have an entire post devoted to these crispy, salty favorites.
My first taste of boardwalk fries was of course at Thrasher’s in Ocean City, MD…notorious among Marylanders, Eastern Shore folks, and really the entire nation in some cases. That’s because they’re the best. Their first trick is a soak for the cut potatoes in hot saltwater. It helps to remove some of the starch, and softens them up a bit for cooking.
The second key step is the twice-fried technique. The potatoes are cooked in hot oil for one round, basically to par-cook them. They’re then removed from the oil, set aside to drain, and then added back to the oil to attain that beautiful golden brown and crunchy exterior.
Immediately season with salt, and apple cider or malt vinegar. Never ketchup! It’s actually a rule at Thrasher’s…they don’t have it available. The place next store has a racket selling containers of it at exorbitant prices. We don’t have boardwalks here on Chincoteague, which is just fine by me – but it’s nice to have a little taste of it here at home!
5 large Russet potatoes, washed and scrubbed
2 Tbsp + 1 tsp kosher salt
4 cups warm water
vegetable or peanut oil
apple cider or malt vinegar
Make the soaking mixture for the cut potatoes by combining hot water and 2 tablespoons kosher salt in large bowl. Mix to dissolve salt. Set aside.
To prepare the potatoes, peel the sides of the potato with a vegetable peeler, leaving some skin at the top and bottom. Slice potatoes length-wise, in 1/2? slices. Then, slice 1/4? inch strips from those slices. A mandoline or french fry cutter is very handy here!
Place cut potatoes in the bowl of salt water and soak for 15 minutes. Remove from water and place the potatoes on a clean kitchen towel to dry for a few minutes. Dry well to avoid splattering when frying.
Fill a dutch oven with vegetable oil, so that oil comes up a little less than halfway up the pot. Bring to 375 degrees. Once oil is up to temperature, fry the potatoes in batches, taking care not to overcrowd. Fry until edges are starting to brown, about 3 minutes. Remove to a paper-towel lined cookie sheet. Repeat process with remaining potatoes.
Once all potatoes have been fried, bring the oil back up to 375 degrees, and refry them. The “twice-fry” is the key to a crispy french fry. Just another minute or two in the hot oil is all you need.
Once golden brown, remove to a paper towel lined platter to drain. Season with kosher salt and vinegar, if you like.