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Kitchen Queries

Welcome to Kitchen Queries, where the nigella.com team will answer your cooking or food related questions.  We’d love you to submit some of your recipe problems, dilemmas or queries for us to get our teeth into!

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  • Cooking Fries Starting With Cold Oil

    On Nigella's TV series 'Nigellissima' she cooked French fries which she started off in cold oil. Do you have any details of this method? Thank you, Zillsh

    From the nigella team:

    Nigella cooks fries started off in cold oil in her recipe Tuscan Fries from "Nigellissima" (p138). The name itself comes from the Italian-inspired flavourings added to the oil towards the end of the cooking time - unpeeled cloves of garlic and herbs such as sage, thyme and rosemary.

    The technique itself involves cutting the potatoes into slightly chunkier fries (similar to steakhous fries or thin wedges) around 1cm/1/4 inch thick. The potatoes are then dried in a tea towel and put into room temperature oil and then cooked over a medium heat. 

    Interestingly the potatoes do not absorb any extra oil with this technique. Indeed when Nigella measured the volume of oil left after frying 1kg/2 1/4 pounds potatoes then hardly any had been used. The science behind this is apprently to do with the temperature that the fries are cooked at rather than the actual time. Regardless of this, the recipe gives beautifully bronzed and crisp fries with less hassle than traditional frying methods.

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