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Published: Sunday, 2/5/2012

French fries without side of guilt

BY ALICIA ROSS
KITCHEN SCOOP

Warning! Do not make these potatoes when you are alone! OK, that sounds a little dramatic, but it really is for your own good. These potatoes are so amazing that you will be tempted to eat the entire batch. This warning comes, of course, from a self-proclaimed fanatic and victim of said danger: me.

Here's the story: I have had a love affair with french fries my entire life. In fact, I have had to go cold turkey off the little fried gems several times over the years in hopes of dropping a few pounds. And now, at this point in my life, I refuse to do without. So I'm just trying to improve the nutritional benefit of one of my favorite foods.

I hit the test kitchen with a 10-pound bag of russet potatoes and various methods in my cooking arsenal. Let me tell you, it was hard, dirty work. A whole lot of potatoes would have been better left raw. But for you, my readers, I have come up with possibly the best roasted-potato recipe I have ever made. I have also cut the calories by more than half, and I've cut the fat and sodium by two-thirds or more (see Note).

The kitchen scoop is really simple: high heat and assertive seasoning.

The reason a french fry is so darn good is because it is fried. The boiling oil gives the fries moist, tender insides and crispy outsides. But it's not just the deep-fried oil that's bad for you. Don't forget the seasoning. If you ever watched your favorite fast-food restaurant season your fries, you know how much "stuff" they put on there.

Since I ditched the Fry Daddy years ago, a high temperature in the oven has been my answer. For the seasoning, I used a sodium-free lemon-pepper seasoning mix and garlic and added salt to taste (with some guidelines). I have sized the batch for two people, but it is easily doubled or tripled.

Enjoy these delicious "fries" with the traditional burger, sandwich, chicken, fish, steak or ... well, just about anything. But don't say I didn't warn you if you feel compelled to eat more than one serving!

Contact Alicia Ross at Kitchen Scoop, c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106, or send email to tellus@kitchenscoop.com. Or visit the Kitchen Scoop Web site at www.kitchenscoop.com.

Zesty Roasted Potatoes

Start to finish: 25 minutes

2 medium russet potatoes, washed and scrubbed

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon sodium-free lemon pepper seasoning

1/4 teaspoon salt, or more to taste

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Ketchup for serving, if desired

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Slice the potatoes lengthwise into 12 wedges each. Toss the potatoes in a medium bowl with oil and lemon-pepper seasoning. Spread potatoes onto a baking sheet in a single layer, using a rubber spatula to scrape any extra oil or seasoning from sides of bowl onto the potatoes.

Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, turning once during the baking time, or until lightly browned and crispy on the outside.

Sprinkle with salt and garlic powder and toss well. Serve immediately with ketchup, if desired.

Yield: 2 servings, easily doubled or tripled

Approximate values per serving (221 g or 8 ounces): 208 calories (30 percent from fat), 7 g fat (1 g saturated), 0 mg cholesterol, 4 g protein, 34 g carbohydrates, 5 g dietary fiber, 208 mg sodium

Note: I compared my figures to a large serving of a popular fast-food chain's french fries. For testing purposes, I used Mrs. Dash.



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