Playing Carla Hall's Homemade Fries 3 Ways

“The pimiento cheese spread can be used in so many ways. On crackers, of course, but I love it in omelets as well as breaded and fried.” - Carla Hall

  • 3 pounds russet potatoes, unpeeled and scrubbed
  • Ice
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 to 4 quarts vegetable or peanut oil
For Dill, Horseradish and Vinegar ‘Chips’
  • 1/2 cup fresh horseradish, peeled and finely grated
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill or 1 tablespoon dried dill weed
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • Malt vinegar, to taste
For Garlic, Lemon and Mustard Fries
  • 2 tablespoons granulated garlic
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
For Pimiento Cheese Fries
  • 1/4 pound sharp cheddar, grated
  • 1/4 pound Monterey Jack, grated
  • 1 red pepper, roasted, seeded and chopped
  • 2 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 ounce mayonnaise
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons minced onion
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons mustard powder
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cut potatoes lengthwise into fries 1/2-inch thick. Keep cut potatoes totally immersed in cold water until all the potatoes are cut to keep them from discoloring. Rinse the potatoes, replace with fresh water, ice and lemon juice. Chill for at least two hours.

Drain potatoes, pat dry very well and lay them out on a sheet pan in single layers with paper towels in between each layer.

Heat oil in a Dutch oven to 325°F. In small batches, blanch the potatoes in the oil for 4-6 minutes or until the fries are tender and slightly golden. Using a spider, remove the fries from the oil and place on a sheet pan lined with a paper bag. Cool for at least 20 minutes. (Fries can be held like this in the fridge for up to three days or frozen.) Continue until all the potatoes have been cooked.

To finish, increase oil temperature to 375°F. Cook fries in small batches for 2-3 minutes or until golden brown and crispy. Remove from oil, place on a sheet pan lined with paper bags and season with kosher salt or seasoning mix.

For Dill, Horseradish and Vinegar “Chips”
Dry out horseradish: Preheat oven to 130°F or set to lowest setting possible and crack the door to maintain lower temperature. Spread the horseradish on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 60-90 minutes or until shriveled, checking often for doneness. Let cool then finely grind in a blender or spice grinder. Combine horseradish powder with dill, salt and garlic. Store blend in an airtight container until ready to use or toss spice blend on hot fries and sprinkle with malt vinegar to taste.

For Garlic, Lemon and Mustard Fries
Combine all ingredients in a bowl, rubbing together well with your fingers to allow the oil from the zest permeate the other ingredients. Toss spice blend on hot fries or potato wedges.

For Pimiento Cheese Fries
In the bowl of a stand mixer, add sharp cheddar, Monterey Jack, pepper, cream cheese, mayonnaise, garlic, cayenne and salt, and mix until well-combined. Chill. (“The pimiento cheese spread can be used in so many ways. On crackers, of course, but I love it in omelets as well as breaded and fried.”)

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, add the butter and melt over medium heat. Sauté the onions until soft. Add the flour, mustard and paprika, and whisk for 5 minutes. Add the milk while whisking. Simmer, whisking occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, add in the pimento cheese and mix to combine until smooth.