Eat Well: Duck Fat Fries

When I started Name's Not Ashley, I put very little thought into the name's specific applicability beyond my own life. I mean, I believe the inherent message applies to everyone - not everyone feels like they are being true to themselves/the best version of themselves at all times, and thus everyone has some experience feeling like "Ashley," the alter-ego of themselves. But not everyone is called Ashley in particular. But you know who is? My sisters. The girls who share the last name "Ashcroft" get called "Ashley" ALL THE TIME. And, as an extension of that, my sisters are natural guest authors on this blog. After all, the name means just as much in their own lives as it does in mine.

You already heard from my sister Hannah, and today we are lucky enough to hear from my sister Laura, who is not only beautiful, unendingly generous, and the funniest person you will ever meet, but is also an amazing cook. And I do not give that compliment lightly. She has written about one of her renown recipes for you guys, so read on! Something tells me she will have many more features in the future :) Fries Final

Shopping at specialty food stores always inspires my inner gourmand. While picking up a few things for Easter dinner (pulled pork Asian-style lettuce wraps), I spotted some duck fat. It caught my eye, so I purchased it, thinking it would make a perfect treat for my foodie father. But, I accidentally left it in my fridge... Whoops! So, I figured why not put it to good use? Enter DUCK FAT FRIES.

I’ll be honest, I try to stay pretty healthy in my dietary decisions. I don’t like to eat a lot of starchy, carbohydrate-filled foods - they make my mid-section blow up like a balloon. But about once a week, I just have a hankering to cook something that’s incredible and over-the-top, laying aside all calorie consciousness and inhibition. Last week it was macaroni and cheese, the week before it was fried chicken and waffles. (And I enjoy using any occasion to spoil my boyfriend or roommates with deliciousness!) But I follow one rule. If I’m going to splurge, I’m going to do it right. No cutting back, no skimping, no attempting to make these dishes “healthy” by going low fat or whole wheat or whatever. So, please heed my advice. Be WELL, eat light when you can... but don’t rob yourself of the pleasure of a classic, fully-loaded, decadent dish when the time is right. Below, you will find one such dish.

I’m serving these fries with some porterhouses topped with provençal butter, and roasted haricots verts (less snobby translation= green beans; but really - the French translation sounds so classy...) with yellow bell pepper and bleu cheese. A simple green salad would complement this meal rather nicely as well.

Truffled Duck Fat Fries

1 Russet Potato per person, cut into ¼ inch thickness

2 Tablespoons  (+more for seasoning) Kosher Salt

Few Splashes White Vinegar

Fresh Cracked Pepper

1-2 Teaspoons White Truffle Oil

7 Ounces of Duck Fat

3-4 Ounces of Peanut, Vegetable, or Canola Oil

2-3 Tablespoons Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese

1 Tablespoon Chopped Parsley

1 Tablespoon Chopped Fresh Chives

Scrub your potatoes. Cut the potatoes into ¼ inch thick fries. (I like them very thin, but I suppose whatever thickness you prefer will work. If you have a mandoline, use it. But if not, good-ole knife skills will serve you just fine. I like that my fries are not super uniform. Remember, the thicker the fry, the longer they’ll take to cook.)

Place fries into large bowl of ice water with a couple tablespoons of salt and a few splashes of white vinegar. Let them soak for half an hour. (This step draws out starch so you get a very crispy fry!)

Strain through colander, and pat those suckers VERY dry with paper towels to avoid splattering in the hot oil.

Heat duck fat and oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot (preferably a cast-iron! They’re cheap and useful!) to 375 degrees. Be sure your oil doesn’t reach more than halfway up the pot.

Place the fries into the hot oil and cook for a couple minutes till slightly crisp but not yet cooked through.

Take them out and place them on paper towels to drain.

Put them back in the oil for another fry, until perfectly cooked and crisp.

Take them out and drain again. Immediately hit with a few teaspoons of kosher salt.

Toss fries in the fresh herbs, Parmesan, and truffle oil. Grind some pepper on top to finish them off. Voila!

Enjoy a delicious, decadent, deep fried treat.