July 13 is marked in the calendar as National French Fry Day.
Although they are called French, they are as Belgian as it gets. According to the folk tale- when tasted the delicacy, American soldiers started calling them French, since the French language used to be official communication channel of the Belgian army in the Second World War. Thanks to them it became worldly known as one of the most popular side dishes.
Yet, Frietjes (fries in local language), is considered anything but a main course locally. The flawless frying technique consisting of 2 stages – first 7 minutes and then just before serving additional 2-3 minutes and accompanied with wide range of profane toppings transforms it into Michelin star worthy dishes. My two favorite carbonnade-a-la-flamande and the second – fresh raw egg.
This second quirky technique is linked to some of the little towns in the Flemish part of Belgium. I can not explain good enough in words the alchemy that happens once a lightly whipped raw egg hits those sizzling fries. It bakes for a bit forming the silkiest coating around the fries. For the dish that perfect all you need is a small teaspoon of good organic mayo and some coarse fleur de sel.
If frying puts you off, over the time my family developed an oven baked version that looks and tasted exactly the same.
Oven baked fries
1 kg potatoes (check with your supply for the kind that is best for the fries and oven baking)
1 tbsp good butter
2 tbsp sunflower oil
Fleur de sel (to taste)
Few springs of fresh thyme
1 fresh free range egg
Some good organic mayo
Caviar for the garnish
1. Peel and cut the potatoes.
2. Wash them under the stream of hot water for 5 minutes and let stand it a bowl filled with piping hot water until it cooles down. This will pre-boil them slightly.
3. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees Celsius.
4. Drain and arrange the potatoes in the non-stick baking tray after coating them well with butter and oil mixture and some fresh thyme.
5. Season to taste with salt and bake for 35-40 minutes -until nice golden and crispy.
6. Lightly whip an egg and pour it over the servings immediately after taking fries out of the oven.
7. Top with one tsp of good mayo and toss it few times.
8. You can garnish it with some caviar, since it all goes so well together.