My family is filled with french fry monsters.
Let me start from the beginning.
All throughout my childhood, and still to this day), my dad was the cook in the house. We both share the capabilities of a chef, but never had the desire to open a restaurant.
He spent years working in professional kitchens, practicing at home, and schooling himself through Julia Child. My mom, older sister, and I were his regular customers.
Well, and two Persian cats who really liked rosemary roasted chicken.
But when we were on vacation years ago visiting my sister in Hawaii, we stumbled upon a place that perfected the art of skinny fries. And it wasn’t a fancy French eatery that listed them on the menu as “frites.”
Instead, it was an outdoor burger dive with picnic tables, masterfully grilled mahi mahi sandwiches, and roosters that would steal your flip-flops if you weren’t looking.
Any other place where my family gathered around potatoes, we were happy to share. But when we dined at our quaint little gem on the North Shore, everyone got a basket to themselves.
No questions asked.
At the end of a warm tropical day when the sand is clinging to the back of your sunburnt legs, there’s nothing better than snuggling up to a mountain of stringy potato sticks.
I didn’t think I could even come close to replicating these salty strands, particularly via baking rather than frying, but I discovered that it’s all in the slicing.
That is, until I tried these thin baked fries with nutty Gruyere and a citrusy vinaigrette.
Let’s talk about that moment when freshly cut garlic hits hot french fries.
Hello, McFly. Anybody home?
Yep, it’s me. Melting into a puddle of happiness.
Many recipes call for you to toss the garlic with the potatoes at the start, but I think that’s a mistake.
To get a good crisp on them, fries need a crazy hot oven. But crazy hot ovens and fresh garlic aren’t exactly pals.
Since the potatoes need some time to cook through, if you load on the garlic in step one, by the time your fries have gotten their golden hue, your garlic has probably burned.
True fact: garlic is good in every form, except when it’s burnt.
Just as I like to do with my oven-roasted hash browns, I let the taters take on the majority of the heat, and then toss in the garlic closer to game time. This gives it a chance to soften and lose some of its sharpness.
Although you could call it a day after sprinkling on the garlic and parsley, why not take things a step further and call in some cheese?
I’m a sucker for Gruyere’s flavor profile. More mature Gruyere is assertive and earthy, while younger varietals are slightly buttery. Since this is a smooth-melting cheese, use whatever you can easily find.
If you’re willing to drop the extra pennies, however, the complex profile of aged Gruyere is worth every cent in comparison to a lower-quality product. We’re not making gooey cheese fries, after all, so you don’t need much.
The Gruyere is simply meant to accent the salty fries. Think of it like a bright teal bracelet that dresses up a long sweater and a pair of leggings. Wait, why isn’t there jewelry made of cheese… ?
I’m getting off track.
The combination of the refreshing herby vinaigrette over the skinny fries marries my memories of Hawaii with the nutritious cuisine my dad still prepares today.
There’s no doubt that if I made these for my family, the french fry monsters in each of us would come out in full force, and we would all be transported right back to those picnic tables on the North Shore.
Ketchup and roosters not included.Print
Looking for tasty taters with a twist? Oven baked and drizzled with a bright vinaigrette, these salty skinny fries hit the spot.
- 6 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, divided
- 1 cup fresh baby spinach leaves, rough chopped
- 2 tablespoons rough chopped fresh chives
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
- 1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt, divided, plus more to taste
- 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided, plus more to taste
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 4 medium baking potatoes (about 2 pounds), sliced into thin matchsticks
- 3 tablespoons neutral oil (such as vegetable, sunflower, or grapeseed oil)
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
- 1/2 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
- Add 4 tablespoons fresh parsley to a blender or food processor along with the spinach, chives, lemon juice, vinegar, and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper until thoroughly combined. With the motor still running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until the dressing is emulsified. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper if necessary. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 425°F and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or foil Coat with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, toss the sliced potatoes with the neutral oil, rosemary, and a 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Spread the potatoes onto the baking sheets in a single layer, being sure not to overcrowd them.
- Bake until the potatoes begin to crisp, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven. Sprinkle the garlic evenly over the potatoes and toss to combine with tongs. Continue baking until the garlic has softened and the potatoes are lightly golden, about 10 more minutes.
- Transfer to a large bowl and toss with 1/2 teaspoon salt, the remaining 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, and the Gruyere. Serve immediately with the lemony green dressing.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Category: French Fries
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: Appetizers
Keywords: french fries, oven-baked, lemon, Gruyere
Cooking by the Numbers…
Step 1 – Chop and Measure Ingredients
Rough chop 4 tablespoons of the fresh parsley, and the spinach and chives.
Measure out everything else that you will need for the recipe.
Step 2 – Make the Dressing
With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until the dressing is emulsified. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper if necessary. Set aside.
Step 3 – Slice into Matchsticks
Slice a potato lengthwise into several slabs about ¼ inch thick with a long, sharp knife such as a chef’s knife.
Stack several of the slabs and then carefully run your knife through them in the opposite direction to make long, skinny sticks. Repeat with the remaining potatoes.
Step 4 – Toss with Oil and Seasonings
In a large bowl, toss the sliced potatoes with the neutral oil, rosemary, and a 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper.
Step 5 – Bake
Preheat your oven to 425°F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or foil, and spray with nonstick cooking oil spray.
In a single layer, spread the potatoes onto the baking sheets, making sure not to overcrowd them. If the potatoes are too close together, they’ll steam instead of crisping up.
Bake until lightly golden, about 20 minutes, and then remove the pans from the oven.
Step 6 – Toss with the Garlic and Bake
Sprinkle the garlic evenly over the potatoes and toss to combine. Tongs come in handy for this.
Continue baking until the garlic has softened and the potatoes are lightly golden, about 10 more minutes.
Step 7 – Toss with Herbs and Cheese
Transfer the hot fries to a large bowl and toss them with 1/2 teaspoon salt, the remaining 2 tablespoons of fresh parsley, and the Gruyere.
Serve immediately with some of the lemony green dressing drizzled over the top, and the rest on the side for dipping.
Fry Me to the Moon
Sure, deep-fried things are always delicious. Not gonna argue with you there. But when you opt for baking over frying, you don’t feel as bad about eating an entire basket of something.
If you can’t get your hands on Gruyere, swap in another melty cheese like white cheddar or provolone, or try our for Parmesan and Garlic Fries.
Or just keep things simple, easy. Our recipe for oven baked fries simply seasoned with salt and pepper is a classic that can never go wrong.
Don’t forget to save any leftover lemony dressing for quick weeknight salads! But I like to say that salad dressing on fries is the new salad. Here are some other tasty vinaigrette-dressed salad recipes that your taters can get down with too:
- Black Rice and Pea Salad with Red Wine Vinaigrette
- Beet and Lettuce Salad with Green Onion Vinaigrette
- Grilled Veggie Salad with Tahini Dressing
Everyone has a go-to french fry dip. Are you a die-hard ketchup fan? Ranch nerd? Aioli addict? Hash it out in the comments below! And don’t forget to give this recipe a five-star rating if you loved it.
Photos by Fanny Slater, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on January 1, 2013 by Shanna Mallon. Last updated: February 12, 2023 at 10:04 am. With additional writing and editing by Allison Sidhu.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Fanny Slater
Fanny Slater is a home-taught food enthusiast based in Wilmington, North Carolina who won the “Rachael Ray Show” Great American Cookbook Competition in 2014, and published her cookbook “Orange, Lavender & Figs” in 2016. Fanny is a food and beverage writer, recipe developer, and social media influencer. She was a co-host on the Food Network series “Kitchen Sink,” was featured on Cooking Channel’s longtime popular series “The Best Thing I Ever Ate,” and continues to appear regularly on the “Rachael Ray Show.”