French Fries from Scratch
Add the oil to a deep-sided heavy saucepan or a wok. Heat the oil until it is at least 350°.
While the oil is heating, wash and peel the potatoes. Cut lengthwise into pieces about ¼ to ½ inch thick. Place in a bowl of cold water for 5 minutes. Drain thoroughly and dry with paper towels.
Make sure paper towels are handy near the stove before you begin deep-frying. To cook, carefully slide the sliced potatoes into the hot oil, a handful at a time. Deep-fry for 4 to 5 minutes, until golden brown and crispy. Carefully remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Fry the next batch.
When all the potatoes have been fried once, raise the oil temperature to 375°. Deep-fry the French fries a second time for about 2 minutes, until crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain. Serve with salt, ketchup, or vinegar as desired.
The trick to this recipe is making sure the oil is hot enough, and then cooking only a few fries at a time. The second frying adds extra crispiness, but you can skip this step if desired.