OUR DEFINITIVE FRIESNikole Herriott & Tara O'Brady
We employ a double-fry method, first poaching the potatoes at a lower temperature for internal fluff, then frying a second time at high heat to ensure a crispy exterior. While hot, the fries are tossed with salt to finish—we liked pink salt here, for its mineral edge. Maldon would be nice for crunch, or Fleur de Sel de Guérande is never a bad thing.
Serves 2 generously.
2 large baking potatoes, russet and Yukon gold are ideal (we used a few handfuls of golden fingerlings because they were fresh and lovely)
Oil for frying (vegetable oil is standard, but peanut oil is preferred and duck fat is sublime)
Peel the potatoes if desired. Cut each potato lengthwise into slices 1/3 inch thick. Cut the slices lengthwise into sticks 1/3 inch thick. Soak the potatoes in a bowl of ice water for at least 30 minutes (or as long as overnight) to release the excess starch.
In a heavy-bottomed pot or deep fryer, preheat 3 inches of oil (or the manufacturer’s recommendation in the case of the latter) to 325 degrees (Fahrenheit).
Lift the potatoes out of the water, then rinse until clean. Drain, then lay them out on a kitchen towel or paper towel and pat dry.
In small batches, fry the potatoes until translucent and just starting to turn pale gold, approximately 5–6 minutes per batch.
Do not overload the oil, or the temperature will drop too quickly and the potatoes will be uneven. Cooking times will depend on the size of batch and how well you can maintain the oil temperature.
Using a spider, basket, or tongs, remove the first fries to drain on a baking rack placed over newsprint. Continue with remaining potatoes until done.
Allow to stand for at least 10 minutes, or up to 2 hours.
When ready to eat, raise the heat of the oil to 375ºF.
Again working in batches, fry the potatoes until golden and crisp, about 2–3 minutes per batch. Remove to the draining rack (lined with fresh paper) or into a double-lined brown paper bag for a moment to cool, then transfer to a large bowl. Season liberally with salt and toss the fries to coat. Yum.
THE SIMPLEST CLAMSNikole Herriott & Tara O'Brady
When an ingredient is at its best, it needn’t be gussied up. Toss away any clams that are open before cooking, and any that remain closed after.
2 pounds hard clams, littleneck sized
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup salted butter, melted
Wash the clams thoroughly, scrubbing the shells with a stiff brush. Heat a large pot that has a cover over medium-high heat. Clatter in the clams. Splash in about 1 cup of water and put the lid on immediately. Simmer for 4–5 minutes, shaking the pot now and again to distribute the heat and clams. Remove the cooked clams to warm plates. Season the broth with salt and pepper, and pour alongside if desired.
Serve with melted butter and bottles of cold beer.