Shoe String Fries with Rosemary

By Harry Eastwood Harry Eastwood From the book Carneval
Shoe String Fries with Rosemary

If you’ve never made fries before and you want to get them right first time, this recipe is for you. In a nice way, these fries are totally novice proof – you don’t need to blanch them first and chill them, or faff around with frying them more than once, as with most French fries. And they’re always crispy. In France, they are called pommes paille, which translates as ‘straw fries’. This is because they arrive piled high on your plate and look exactly like golden, crispy strands of straw. You can’t beat them paired with a juicy steak or Steak Tartare.

For how many? Serves 4


  • 500g Maris Piper potatoes, scrubbed
  • 1 l sunflower oil
  • 5 sprigs of rosemary, leaves stripped from the stalks
  • plenty of salt and black pepper


You will need either a mandolin or a potato peeler with little teeth, since you’re looking for Julienne strips (like long matchsticks). Once all the potato is sitting in a pile of strips, take a third of them and wrap them in kitchen paper. Press hard, to absorb any potato water. Repeat with the other thirds until they are all done.

Place the oil in a large saucepan over a high heat – the level of the oil should be no more than one-quarter of the way up the pan. When the fat is very hot (you can gauge this by dropping in a few strands – when they bubble like mad and turn golden within 20 seconds it is hot enough), grab a small handful and untangle it to loosen the strands. You want a clump that isn’t too packed together so that when the strands fry they form a messy bundle and end up as a ledge in the hot oil. This makes them easy to flip over. Drop them carefully into the oil and cook for about 90 seconds until golden. Flip with the help of tongs or two forks and do the same on the other side.

Once golden, remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Repeat until all the fries are cooked. It’s important to wait a few minutes before you repeat the process, though, as the fat needs to heat up again.

Finish by frying the rosemary leaves for 20 seconds and then removing with a slotted spoon.

Toss the fries with salt, pepper and the rosemary leaves before serving.

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