I love French fries, but was always unimpressed how they turned out when baking them in the oven. I then bought an air-fryer. This little thing works great, it's like a mini-oven. It circulates high temperature air around a metal basket, simulating an oil deep-fry. However, my French fries were still not what you could call "marketable." McDonald's would go out of business selling my fries.
Not any more! I figured it out.
My original method involved slicing potatoes with a knife, then putting them directly into the air fryer. I did some Googling...it turns out that the professional French fry makers always pre-cook their fries at a lower temperature before finishing them at a high temp. McDonald's pre-fries their fries, then freezes and ships them around the world for final cooking.
So, what I did, I sliced the potatoes into somewhat thicker fries (think Wendy's, not McD's), and boiled them for 3 minutes. Then I cooled them with cold water in a strainer.
Once cooled, I placed them in the air fryer for 10 minutes at a temp just below max. After 10 minutes, I removed the basket and shook and separated the potato sticks, turned the heat to max, and put back in for another 10 minutes. Perfection!
Anyone else have an air-fryer? The pre-boiling method would also work great for making these in the oven. The trick is not to pre-cook them, just slightly cook. Blanch. Parboil.
If you are going to get serious about this, you may want to also get a French fry cutter. I have this giant wall-mounted type that I've used for over 10 years. I also see there are many other types and styles. Uniformly sliced potatoes are an important aspect of the perfect french fry!
And here's a batch of curly fries I made in the same way. This was the maiden voyage of my new Spiralizer. I spiralled the spuds, blanched in boiling water for 2 minutes, dripped dry, then air-fried for 15 minutes. Served with sea salt, malt vinegar, and balsamic ketchup: