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Sunday, July 24, 2011

French Fries Balls - Pommes Noisettes


Pommes Noisettes9

Pommes Noisettes7

Pommes Noisettes8

We have eaten French Fries often enough... it was the first item I ordered from Mac Donalds when they opened shop here some 30 years ago and  it is one of the most popular accompaniment with everything from Fish to Burgers to Steak... We can rationalise all we want about how oily and calorie loaded they are, but in reality, I think there is no one who can resist a well cooked Fries. Frozen fries are now so readily available from the supermarket that few would consider it worthwhile to prepare our own fries from scratch.

Indeed, making good fries from scratch is troublesome. I actually had to start almost 2 days in advance the last time I prepared fries for a gathering - but it was all worth it.
As I appraised the bag of russet potatoes in my kitchen like it was my own innovation challenge, 3 dishes popped in my mind and one of them is actually a variation of the Pommes Frites (French Fries), the Pomme Noisettes. The Pomme Noisettes is actually a distant and vague impression from my childhood. At that time, a certain Frozen Food company had started commercialising these frozen potato balls. The advertising campaign was aggressive and they made sure that those deep fried potato balls looked golden and delicious in the commercials... I believe all the kids back then were sold.

To create these, I had used a melon baller to scoop out balls of raw potatoes. These were then simmered in boiling water to pre-cook them. The boiled potatoes were then cooled down and chilled overnight. The first fry took place at 130C until the potato balls turned yellowish brown. These were once again chilled for half a day before deep frying it again at 190C. Fries made this way are amazingly crispy on the outside and fluffy in the inside.  I had chosen to season these with the Japanese Shichimi Togarashi (7 spice chili powder) to give it a little spicy kick.Be warned, these are really addictive and will run out in no time at any beer party.  Though pretty in their Noisettes shapes, scooping these balls out from the potatoes actually created alot of wastage. For practical reason, I would cut these into little cubes next time I make them.

To get the right puffed up crispy finish, the temperature of the oil needs to be well controlled. To be honest, I am not totally satisfied with my Pommes Noisettes. I do think I did not control the temperature of my oil well and hence, it did not retain its crispness for very long. Nevertheless, they are still addictive and goes superbly with a cold cold beer...

Pommes Noisettes6(250)

Recipe :

Russet Potatoes
Oil for Deep frying
Shichimi Toragashi (can replaced with Truffle salt, paprika or other smoked salt)

1. Peel Russet Potatoes or other floury potatoes. Choose bigger potatoes if you want to scoop balls out of them. Cut the peeled potatoes into half horizontally. Systematically scoop out potatoes will a melon baller to minimise wastage.

2. Run the potato balls under water for a few minutes to remove excess starch.
3. Boil a pot of water. Add a generous amount of salt (10% weight of water). When the water starts to boil, add in potato balls. Let water come back to boil and reduce heat to just a simmer. Do not let the potatoes boil else they will turn to mash.
4. Let potato balls simmer for about 3-5 mins until just cooked but not too soft.
5. Drain the water from the pot. Chill potatoes in the fridge overnight.
6. Heat a pot of oil to 130C. Fry the chilled potato balls in the hot oil until light brown. Remove potatoes with a slotted spoon. Drain off excess oil and chill in fridge overnight. (At this stage, you can freeze it to store)
7. Heat a pot of oil to 190C. Fry the chilled potatoes until golden brown.
8. Remove from oil, drain and sprinkle with Shichimi Toragashi.



26 comments:

shaz@feedingmykidsbetter said...

Wow. Would love to have some of those with some of that saporo beer. I actually do remember eating those pommes noisettes in my childhood. I vaguely remember the red rectangular box (somewhat similar to those frozen waffle boxes we see now). Thanks for the nostalgic culinary trip. Have a wonderful Sunday (or or whatever's left of it) - shaz :)

Passionate About Baking said...

You really reminded me on this, Shirley! The name of the potato balls kept ringing in my head as it was so catchy! I didn't know making this needs so many hours of "preparation & standing"! Your pomme noisettes looked really really good! I'll save the hassles, I'll just go for french fries...

daphne said...

oh my.. what alot of work to go into these little babies. But hey, I bet the soft insides and crunchy outside will be worth it.

pickyin @ LifeIsGreat said...

Balling potatoes with a melon baller sounds like a lot of work, mostly I'm too lazy to even peel them. But who am I kidding, I've done crazier things before. Like your Japanese seasoning touch.

Min said...

Wow, I'm imagining how yummy they are. You are really patient, spend two days to get it done, good work! I'm sure they are worth your hard work :)

Zurin said...

They look really cute. you are a true chemist...all that temperature control and observations...admirable :)

Foodness Gracious said...

Great post and looks like I could eat a ton of these! I love your pictures also!!

edith said...

Shirley I am visualising how you melon balled the raw potatoes. I got a feeling that needs some good muscle to do that. I am sure these disappeared in no time. Lovely!

Mochachocolata Rita said...

too gorgeous! i love how they are balls instead of sticks :D

i do have a weakness for fries...

MaryMoh said...

Oh love this! They look so cute like little marbles. I can just see myself popping them into my mouth non stop :D Thanks very much for sharing.

Shirley @ Kokken69 said...

@Edith : :) actually not so bad. If you have a good melon baller, it is quite effortless... just alot of wastage

Anh said...

Ah, so cool!

chinmayie @ love food eat said...

Oh God! That really looks dangerous! I feel like i will totally be out of control with a bowl full of these beauties! Great photos :)

pigpigscorner said...

Oh my, it's like triple cooked chips!

Von said...

These look so cute...and delicious!! I've never seen anythin like these- they look a bit like cheeseballs...haha :D I've never made my own fries because we don't do much frying in our house. But the idea of frying these twice at different temperatures sounds really interesting!

Nitha said...

Loved those cute crispy balls..

mycookinghut said...

Oh la la!! Looks absolutely tempting!!

Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets said...

These are so dainty, elegant, and adorable! Sounds like a taste delight, too.

Shumaila said...

Those look so cute and dainty! Bet they were delicious as well!

Jo said...

Very nice and I am sure these make for absolutely addictive snacks in front of the telly.

penny aka jeroxie said...

They are so good that I can eat the whole lot!

Maria said...

I must admit fried potato is something I'm really not used to and never eat (not even French fries). These look adorable though and I wonder how they'd turn out baked, not fried..?

tigerfish said...

Pomme Noisettes! I remember that commercial and even bought that frozen product before. In fact, that is the only time I heard of Pomme Noisettes. The company may have succeeded in this sense. ;p

Marla said...

These are genius & I will be linking to the tomorrow :)

tinytearoom said...

I love these! They are a childhood favourite of mine too. except we use to buy them frozen from the supermarket. I bet these homemade ones would be so much more tastier and nourishing.

Responsible Beverage Course Wisconsin said...

Really good idea on this recipe! Well this is the first blog I came across that has a ball fries. Seriously! Awesome idea!

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