It’s Time for French Fries

Good morning. Is sourdough still trending, people all over the place nurturing starters, putting them to use in boules and baguettes, in pancakes and waffles? It sure seems that way, from the mail that I get. I think it’s because so many of us are still at home a lot, still working from the desk in the corner or not working from the couch in the living room, working the phone in search of unemployment insurance. With more time at home than usual, there’s more time to ferment.

But sourdough’s not the only kitchen project you can get going under or near quarantine. You might make gravlax or guanciale or pâté. You could make yogurt. And sometime this week, you could make French fries (above). Real French fries, the sort we used to eat at hamburger stands and in bistros, heavily salted, heavenly crisp. Gabrielle Hamilton has a recipe for them that’ll bring that kind of experience back into your life and make it available to you any time you like, because you can parcook the fries and freeze them, just like the ones in the bags from Ore-Ida, but 10 times better. It’s laborious work, she allows, but straightforward. Sounds like sourdough to me, though if I can return to my mail bag, sourdough is often the opposite of straightforward. So let’s make that a thing.

And to go with? A fantastic steak. Some griddled cheeseburgers. A big bowl of mussels.

You’ll want a good dessert as well. Jerrelle Guy has a spectacular new recipe in our pages this week, for strawberry spoon cake. And as good as that would be after a plate of fries, in truth it’ll be even better the next morning, for breakfast.

Another ace new recipe: Melissa Clark’s sugar snap pea salad.

And I don’t know if it’s near as good as those, but I ginned up a no-recipe recipe the other day, for refrigerator mixed grill. I had some Italian sausages lying around, a big bunch of asparagus, a few peppers and onions, some garlic, jalapeños, a hunk of provolone and a big bag of baby spinach. I dressed everything but the greens in olive oil, salt and lemon pepper, then grilled it on a plancha set on top of my grill. (You could use cast-iron pans, or just grill everything straight on the grates or do it under the broiler in your stove.) I arranged everything on top of the greens, hit the platter with a little more olive oil, then squeezed a lemon over the top. That was powerfully good.

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