You Heard me…. YES!
Fast Food Repurposed
Late winter can stir up crazy hankerings. Cabin fever put me into a fermenting funk and led to a venture through my wild and briny pickledom.
It ultimately hatched a new category of lacto-fermented pickle: Pickled Fries, and cured me of my winter blahs!
It is drop dead simple! You don’t need to even make fries, I tested using leftovers. Their firm and chewy texture holds up in the brine. They’re perfect for serving with a few dipping sauces to your winter-bashing revelers.
This just begs future restaurant servers to ask, “Would you like pickled fries with your fried pickles?” A yin-yang appetizer is born: deep fry a fermented pickle and ferment a fried potato. Hoo-Hoo!
My venture began when a pickling pal asked if I had a recipe for pickling sweet potatoes. I had not gotten into tubers yet. I chased a lead and spotted the self-help book Fermenting for Dummies* to check out a story on pickling mashed, sweet potatoes. I made a batch and they turned out darn tasty. One night I awoke hearing an inner voice: what if you pickled a French fry? The quest was born.
I wanted it to be a very simple effort, use leftover fries and renature them into a probiotic pickle. It needed to be as tasty cold as the hot original. It all came together in a pickle that surprises with the first bite. The cooking oil on the fries is balanced with the acidity of the brine. It only needed spices. It’s been a riot all month giving out samples and watching the eyes light up.
Recipe Overview – Serve Them Hot then Pickle the Leftovers
• Full-size fries are a better thickness than the thin Golden Arches size—they sit up in a serving cup for your diners to pick and dip.
• I tested baked fries and have not come up with the mouthfeel needed. It is best to begin your journey with restaurant deep fried varieties.
• I did not test yet for other forms of frozen, heat-n-serve types: like tater tots or oven fries. I am guessing if they are crispy out of the oven and taste good, they’ll work.
My recipes were tested by going to a nice hamburger joint and bringing home the fries.
The whole pickle prepping is a matter of minutes!
INSTRUCTIONS: 1 Qt. (Easily halved or doubled)
Prep Time: 10 minutes | Cook Time: 30 minutes | Total Time: 40 minutes
Use about four cups cooked and cooled fries void of ketchup or other condiments. Cut if necessary to fit into the jar. Lay the fermenting jar on its side and stack the fries in one direction. Stand the jar up and make room in the center for a quarter cup of minced onions or a tablespoon of chopped garlic. Make up a standard brine of 1 TBS. sea salt to 2 cups filtered water (see Perfect Pickler® instructions or website). Include a couple tablespoons of brine from a previous batch of pickles.
Pickled Mustard Fries: (photo at top on left) To the base recipe add 2 tsp. mustard powder and 1 tsp. wasabi powder to the brine. (Or skip the wasabi and use 3 tsp. mustard powder). Add the brine and seal the Perfect Pickler®. They should be ready in two to four days. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. I empty the whole jar into a bowl and adjust, stir well and then repack.
Pickled Smoked Fries: To the base recipe add 1 tsp. smoked paprika. I enjoy them with sliced onion and some garlic.
You will want to serve pickled fries with a few dipping sauces and watch the party come alive! Mayonnaise is the perfect vehicle to make pickled fries go deluxe.
• Combine mayonnaise with
– finely minced kimchi to taste
– with a spritz of worcestershire sauce
– with sweet relish and ketchup
• I also like the clean taste of malt vinegar or plain ketchup
* Fermenting for Dummies, by Marni Wasserman and Amelia Jeanroy
© 2021 Bill Hettig