Cook's Illustrated 1/2004
Take care to cut the potatoes into evenly sized wedges so that all of the pieces will cook at about the same rate. Although it isn't required, a nonstick baking sheet works particularly well for this recipe. It not only keeps the fries from sticking to the pan but, because of its dark color, encourages deep and even browning. Whether you choose a nonstick baking sheet or a regular baking sheet, make sure that it is heavy duty. The intense heat of the oven may cause lighter pans to warp.
Serves 3 to 4
3 russet potatoes (about 8 ounces each), peeled, each potato cut lengthwise into 10 to 12 evenly sized wedges
5 tablespoons vegetable oil or peanut oil
Table salt and ground black pepper
1. Adjust oven rack to lowest position; heat oven to 475 degrees. Place potatoes in large bowl and cover with hot tap water; soak 10 minutes. Meanwhile, coat 18 by 12-inch heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet (see note) with 4 tablespoons oil and sprinkle evenly with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; set aside.
2. Drain potatoes. Spread potatoes out on triple layer of paper towels and thoroughly pat dry with additional paper towels. Rinse and wipe out now-empty bowl; return potatoes to bowl and toss with remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Arrange potatoes in single layer on prepared baking sheet; cover tightly with foil and bake 5 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake until bottoms of potatoes are spotty golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes, rotating baking sheet after 10 minutes. Using metal spatula and tongs, scrape to loosen potatoes from pan, then flip each wedge, keeping potatoes in single layer. Continue baking until fries are golden and crisp, 5 to 15 minutes longer, rotating pan as needed if fries are browning unevenly.
3. Transfer fries to second baking sheet lined with paper towels to drain. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste and serve.
Things I've learned:
a.) If the potatoes are sticking when you try to flip them, put them back into the oven for a few minutes. When they're brown, they'll usually release themselves.
b.) Really watch them toward the end of the cooking time. They start to brown very fast and you could easily burn them if you are preoccupied with other parts of your meal.