My heart skips a beat whenever I hear the three words, “parmesan”, “garlic” and “truffle” in one sentence. Follow those by the word “fries” and my brain just about implodes. I’m a cheese girl, a salt girl, a passionate French fries girl. I’m offended by pale-colored steak fries and I cringe at sweet potato fries. (Meh. Fries are meant to be salty — not sweet! It confuses my desire.)
Now that I’ve quit my day job and am doing an unpaid internship (more on that later) I’m obviously more conscious about my spending. So for dinner the other night, I scavenged around my kitchen for the most decadent “Chopped” challenge. On my counter: a lone gold potato. In my fridge: an embarrassing array of condiments (various mustards, olives, pickles, pepperoncinis), a questionable carton of orange juice, a stale chunk of cake (yes, I threw it out!), a three-week-old whole honeydew melon (really, who likes those? And why is that in here?), some carefully wrapped chopped parsley (uh, was this from my culinary school final exam?) and nubs of random cheeses. Finally, in my cupboard: a brag-worthy selection of exotic spices (which I admittedly don’t use often enough), including a jar of truffle salt.
The gears were turning in my head. I fired up my oven. I quickly sliced up the potatoes, – not bothering to peel them – I spied a half-head of garlic sitting on top of my fridge and chopped up a clove or two and zig-zagged some olive oil into bowl, tossing everything together. 20 minutes, a few shaves of Parmesan and a pinch of truffle salt later, and I had the most sinfully delicious fast-food dish ever. (Bonus tip: this would go perfectly with my Portobello Mushroom Burger recipe.)
Prep time: 10-15 minutes
Cook time: 15-20 minutes
2 gold (or Russet, if you already have them) potatoes
3 garlic cloves, minced (or 2 teaspoons crushed garlic, if you already have it)
About 1/4 cup olive oil
1-2 pinches kosher salt (maybe that’s 1/4 teaspoon, or a bit less)
About 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 pinches truffle salt (maybe that’s just over 1/4 teaspoon)
1 tablespoon parsley, finely chopped (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. (My oven has a mind of its own and runs hot, so I set it at 375.)
2. If you want, peel your potatoes. I wouldn’t bother. Cut them into 1/4″ sticks. Finely chop your garlic and parsley, too. Set the parsley aside for later.
3. In a medium mixing bowl, toss the sliced potatoes, minced or crushed garlic and olive oil.
4. Spread the potatoes in an even layer on a silicon mat (or on parchment paper) on top of a baking sheet. Sprinkle kosher salt. Bake for 8 minutes. Flip the fries over and pop them back in the oven to finish, until the edges are golden brown, another 8-10 minutes.
5. As soon as you get your fries out of the oven, toss them into a serving bowl, grate the Parmesan cheese over the top, toss, and add the truffle salt and parsley. Pig out. Preferably with a Portobello mushroom burger.
Can I use already-grated cheese? Sure, you can. I just prefer freshly grating from a block because 1) blocks of cheese cost about 20-25% less* at the grocery than their grated or shredded counterparts and 2) the taste is so much purer and bolder.
What if I don’t have truffle salt? I feel terrible for you. If you even just somewhat like truffles, I recommend buying a jar of this human catnip even though it is pricey. The best deal I’ve found is at Olive Nation for $23. But otherwise, this recipe is still crazy delicious with the Parmesan and garlic. You’ll probably just want to add another pinch of salt to the finished fries.
* The estimate of blocks of cheese costing 20-25% less than grated or shredded cheese is based on my own observations during frequent trips to various grocery stores, including Ralph’s, Smart & Final, Whole Foods and Gelson’s.