FOOD HOLIDAY: National French Fry Day
 Can you name the fries? From the top: tots, chips, waffle fries, curly fries, frinkle fries, sweet potato fries and what most Americans think of as the classic French fry, the baton (photo courtesy Idaho Potato Commission).
 Want to make spiral cut fries? Try this recipe from the Idaho Potato Commission.
July 13th is National French Fry Day. In previous years we’ve created a glossary of the different types of French fries, and a variety of recipes from the Canadian favorite, poutine, to the two new recipes below.
This year we have two new recipes, one of which is part of a trend to Asian fry garnishes, based on Asian twists with American French fries. These examples were reported by Flavor & The Menu, a magazine for chefs.
Fries have always been on the menu in the U.S., and they’re moving on up. According to recent data from Technomic’s MenuMonitor, fries have shown a 46.5% growth on menus at better restaurants since 2010.
Americans consumers are eating even more fries today than a few years ago. Technomic’s MenuMonitor finds an increase in the number of appetizer fry items on menus, as well as in the number of side fry items at fine-dining restaurants, up by 5% since 2013.
Rather than using grapeseed oil or canola oil, some top chefs are frying their potatoes in duck fat or goose fat, even beef fat, each of which give frie a distinctive, luxurious flavor. Another trend…
Taking inspiration from the loaded baked potato, loaded fries continue to expand as a menu choice.
“Fries as a base are a no-brainer,” says chef Charlie Baggs of Chicago-based Charlie Baggs Culinary Innovations. “If you use fries like you use bread in a sandwich, you have the base, garnish, protein, sauce. If we look at fries like that—and you vary the color, temperature and textural elements—you can build exponential flavor systems.”
Poutine, the beloved Canadian dish of fries topped with cheese curds and gravy, is currently the fastest-growing way of loading fries, according to Technomic.
Regional or global flavor profiles also prevail, such as:
Chef Brian Goodman of Sawyer’s Street Frites and The Greenhouse Tavern in Cleveland advises:
“Anything that can be on pasta, you could also make into a frite dish.” His carbonara frites are inspired by the pasta favorite—with black pepper, pecorino cheese and pancetta pepato—and are a huge draw at Cleveland Browns’ FirstEnergy Stadium.
Fast-food versions of loaded fries have also been noted, often as limited-time offers, such as Wendy’s BBQ Pulled Pork Fries and Baconator Fries, topped with cheddar cheese sauce, bacon and shredded cheddar.
Add Some Heat
As Americans consume more and more hot sauce, spicy fries—like Five Guys’ Cajun fries—have become a popular option at chain restaurants.
You can shake cayenne or hot sauce on your fries, or use sriracha ketchup, but here’s what the professionals are doing:
RECIPE #1: DAIGAKU IMO JAPANESE FRIES
Daigaku imo is a Japanese dish of caramelized potatoes, traditionally made with sweet potatoes and black sesame seeds. The name translates as “university potatoes”: The dish was a popular snack at universities in Tokyo in the early 1900s.
This recipe, which came to us from the Idaho Potato Commission, is from Chef Eric Yung of Elite Catering in Dayton, Ohio. He uses white russet potatoes and “tones the sweetness of the dish down to a kettle corn level.”
1. COMBINE the sugar, syrup and soy sauce in a small pot until the mixture is reduced and nappe consistency. Nappe, a French term meaning “layer,” is a consistency that allows a sauce to coat the food evenly. It should be neither too thick nor too thin.
2. SCRUB the potato well and cut into wedges, leaving the skin on for color (you can peel it if you want). Place the cut pieces in cold water. When ready to fry, drain the pieces and pat dry. Place in the fryer until cooked through and lightly browned.
3. REMOVE the potato from the fryer, drain and combine with the syrup mixture. Toss to coat (you can stir the potato into the syrup); the potato will shine if coated properly. Sprinkle with some gomashio. Separate the potato pieces so they don’t get stuck to each other, and serve.
This recipe, from food blogger Jonathan Melendez of The Candid Appetite, was also sent to us by the Idaho Potato Commission.
In his take, Jonathan tops French fries with all the ingredients for Carne Asada (not unlike the Chinese-Peruvian dish, lomo saltado, photo #6). To save time, use store bought salsa and guacamole.
 Daiguko imo, recipe #1: a long-standing Japanese recipe that caramelizes the potatoes (photo courtesy Idaho Potato Commission).
1. HEAT a Dutch oven or other large pot over medium-high heat. Fill it a bit less than halfway with vegetable oil. Attach a deep fryer thermometer and heat the oil to 350°F.
2. PEEL the potatoes and slice them into thin fries. Immediately place the fries into a bowl of cold water to prevent them from turning brown, and to rinse away the excess starch. Drain the potatoes and dry them thoroughly with a clean kitchen towel. Make sure they’re completely dry; you don’t want any moisture in the oil.
3. FRY the potatoes in batches until light golden brown, about 3 to 5 minutes. Stir with a slotted spoon and transfer to a wire rack set over a baking sheet. Continue frying the rest of the fries. Heat the oil to 375°F and fry the potatoes a second time (also in batches) until deep golden brown and crispy, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the fries back to the wire rack and sprinkle with salt to taste.
4. HEAT an outdoor grill or a stovetop grill pan over medium-high heat until hot. In a large bowl, combine the flap steak with the salt, pepper, granulated garlic, onion, paprika, oregano and Worcestershire sauce. Mix until evenly seasoned. Cook the meat until charred on both sides, about 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and allow to rest for a few minutes before chopping.
5. ASSEMBLE: Arrange the fried potatoes on an oven-safe platter, baking sheet or individual ramekins. Sprinkle with shredded cheese and place in a 350°F oven for about 5 minutes to melt the cheese. Top with chopped carne asada, sour cream, guacamole, tomatoes, pickled jalapeños, cilantro and queso fresco. Serve Immediately.
*If the feta is to salty, soak the block in fresh water for 15 minutes. Rinse, taste, and soak again as necessary.