Also known as matchstick, skinny, or thin fries, shoestring fries are one of my favorite ways to eat potatoes!
What you'll need to achieve maximum results for these mini fries:
3 lbs of russet potatoes (4-5 potatoes)
Mandolin vegetable slicer with julienne capabilities
deep fryer or large heavy bottomed pot & fry thermometer
frying oil of choice
paper towel or clean dish clothes
Step 1: Wash 'n Go
This is a 'chose your own adventure' step (right out of the gate!). I like to leave the skin on my potatoes. You may not like doing that. Either way is fine. If you're going to leave the skin on, wash the taters and use a paring knife to remove any bad spots and/or 'eyes'.
If you'd prefer to remove the skins, you can skip the washing and eye removal and just peel away!
Step 2: Turn Up the Heat
Fill up your fryer with oil and turn it to 365 degrees F. If you're going the pot on stove route, put a heavy bottomed pot on a burner and add 2 inches of oil. Wait until you're almost ready to get frying and turn the burner to medium/high heat and check it until your thermometer reads 365 degrees F. That's the skinny fry sweet spot.
Step 3: How to Use a Mandolin
To julienne the potatoes, I used the Progressive Professional Mandolin and it was by far the easiest one I've ever tried. Whichever mandolin you have, choose the settings/blades for julienne. You will want to end up with long pieces of potato that are 2-3" x 1/8" x 1/8".
Using all the mandolin's safety options, slice up all your potatoes.
Step 4: Swish and Rinse
Fill a large bowl with cold water and swish/rinse all your potato slices. This removes excess starch.
Step 5: Spin & Pat
Put the swished slices into a salad spinner and go to town removing as much water as possible.
Then place the spun tater bits onto paper towel or clean dish towels and pat them with another towel to make the slices as bone dry as possible. The more water you can remove, the fewer splashes when putting them into the oil.
Step 6: Making Shoestring Fries
Now comes the fun part. The frying!!
Prepare a place to put the freshly fried fries to drain, like a baking sheet or cutting board. Line it with 3-4 layers of paper towel and set aside.
Fry just a handful of tater pieces at a time to ensure each bit gets evenly fried. They're ready to remove from the oil when they are a light golden brown. (The will continue to cook a bit after being removed from the oil.)
Repeat the handful process until all your slices are crispy little shoestring taste treats.
Step 7: Serve & Enjoy!
Once all the shoestring fries are done, sprinkle them with salt and pepper and serve with a delicious ketchup or mayo dip.