Thursday, April 24, 2008

Garlic Oven Fries with Pesto Mayonnaise

I have a sincere and undying love of mayonnaise. I enjoy adding large quantities of it to many things. On nights when I don’t feel like cooking, Adam will bring Subway home, and I will sit on the couch with my sub, mayonnaise jar beside me, butter knife in hand.

I’m afraid to tell you any more than that. Let’s just say that there’s lots of mayonnaise involved.

We have burgers a couple times per month, and I must have mayonnaise on my burger. We usually have fries with our burgers, and I like to have mayonnaise with my fries, as well. On burger-and-fry night, I usually make garlic mayo, which is just mayonnaise mixed with a drizzle of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon, and a clove or two of grated garlic. Adam, who claims not to like mayonnaise, uses his fries to shovel the stuff in by the mouthful.

One of my favorite light meals is a tomato sandwich. Vine-ripened salted tomato slices, fresh basil leaves, and mayonnaise on white bread. That’s it. I love basil as well, and basil and mayo is so, so good. So when I saw Emeril’s recipe for Pesto Mayonnaise, I don’t have to tell you that I was all over it like mayo on my Subway sandwich. I made it tonight for burger-and-fry night, along with some oven-baked garlic fries.

Oven-baked fries can be a disappointment, because it’s hard to get them as nice and crispy as fried ones. But then I found another Emeril recipe, this one for oven-baked fries, that calls for coating the fries with a beaten egg white before baking them at a high temperature. The egg white forms a crackly coating on the outside of the fries and—voilà—crispy oven fries.

Just to really kick it up, I tossed the fries in some garlic butter when they were done in the oven. Then I served them with turkey burgers and, of course, the pesto mayo. I have some of the mayo left over, and I know what I’ll be having for lunch tomorrow: a tomato sandwich with pesto mayonnaise. Yum!

Garlic Oven Fries with Pesto Mayonnaise
Adapted from Emeril’s Oven Fries and Pesto Mayonnaise

Pesto mayonnaise, recipe follows
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 large baking potatoes, peeled, about 1 1/2 pounds
1 large egg white
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon butter
4 garlic cloves, minced

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper, and grease the parchment with the vegetable oil.

Slice potatoes lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Turn each slice flat and slice again lengthwise into even fries, 1/2-inch thick. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the egg white until very light and foamy. Add the potatoes to the egg whites and toss to coat evenly.

Spread the coated potatoes on the prepared baking sheet, not touching, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy, turning halfway through the cooking time with a spatula.

Melt butter in a small sauce pan over medium-low heat, and cook garlic in butter for 2 minutes, stirring so garlic doesn't burn. Pour garlic butter over fries, toss to coat, and serve immediately with pesto mayonnaise.

Pesto Mayonnaise

1 cup (packed) fresh basil leaves (about 2 ounces)
1/3 cup lightly toasted pine nuts
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/4 cup mayonnaise

In the bowl of a food processor or blender, combine the basil, pine nuts, garlic, salt, and pepper and puree, scraping down the sides as needed. With the machine running, add the oil through the feed tube and process until the mixture is thick and smooth. Add the Parmesan and process for 15 seconds.

Transfer to a bowl and add the mayonnaise, stirring to blend well. Cover tightly and refrigerate until ready to serve.


Lore said...

These oven fries look SOOOO scrumptious! I've always planned to switch to oven fries and now that I know about the egg white coating technique I feel pretty confident about making them. Thanks so much for sharing this tip :)

Peter M said...

The frues looked fried but I'm in awe of the pesto mayo...briliant!

LyB said...

That is exactly what fries should look like! That looks incredible!

Maxine said...

I love mayo too, but unfortunately my boyfriend gags at the thought of it, so I try use it sparingly. That pesto looks amazing though - maybe I'll have to sneak it in... :)

candyce said...

Wow, it's 7:40am in Chicago, and I could have that for breakfast right now. That pesto mayo looks so delicious!

Celine said...

I could definitely go for this right now. disregard the fact that it's only 6 something am.

Elle said...

Those look fabulous! And the mayo--I already have lots of ways to use some of that up. I also really like the idea of tossing the fries in egg white!

Anonymous said...

i never would have thought to coat the potatoes in egg whites. i will definitely have to try that out.

My Sweet & Saucy said...

That sounds soooo good right now! Your photos are killing me because they look so yummy!

Deborah said...

This sounds sooo good! And the tip about the egg white - brilliant!!

yen said...

Ok - I've only been trying to get my oven fries crispy FOREVER! After many fails I'm so glad I have a new trick.

Thanks for the how-to!

giz said...

The French have always served mayo with fries - really wonderful - pesto mayo - there's something worth trying. In the words of Ina Garten - "what could be bad"?

Patsyk said...

I want some of those fries! Yum! The pesto mayo is something I am sure I would love.

Kevin said...

Pesto mayonnaise is a great idea!! Great call dipping fries in it!

Leah said...

I'm a freak for mayo too....those fries look excellent! I'll try your technique, and that pesto is such a gorgeous green....mmmmm.

noble pig said...

We must be sisters. Mayo is my first love. I can't even imagine how good this is. I must, must try it.

Elle said...

Hey, you made the Weekly Roundup! woohoo!!

Elle said...

Sorry--gotta split the link in two, I guess:

Vicarious Foodie said...

Thanks, Elle! I hadn't even see that. Good lookin' out. ;)

Nilmandra said...

Oh my goodness, the fries look so good (I could almost smell the garlic) and the pesto mayo is calling out to me. Got to try this one! Great tip about using egg white.

Kate said...

I tried to do something similar with mayo, except with garlic, and although I used the garlic oil sparingly, it broke the emulsion of the mayonnaise and it was just clumpy and oily (and gross-looking). How do you prevent that from happening with your pesto mayo?

Vicarious Foodie said...

Hi Kate,

I'm sorry to hear your mayo didn't work out for you! The only trick I know of is to add the oil in a very slow stream as the processor is running. If you pour it in too quickly, this can cause the emulsion to break. Do you think this is what happened to you? If so let me know, and I'll make a note of this in the recipe.

Farmgirl Susan said...

I just found your site via a link on The Perfect Pantry. This looks SO good. I didn't think pesto could get any more delicious (except for pesto cream sauce on pasta), but adding mayo? Oh. Oh. Oh. my. goodness.

I was just noticing this morning how big my basil plant in the greenhouse is. Time for another batch of pesto! And I've got plenty of mayonnaise on hand. I may be in big trouble here. ;)