Crispy Grill Fries
These Jojo-Style Crispy Grill Fries are a well-loved summertime staple and popular with kids of all ages. They are well-seasoned and delicious plain or served with your favorite clean dipping sauce or aioli.
These Crispy Grill Fries happen to be gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, and Paleo for those who eat white potatoes.
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The secret to getting these grill fries crisp and brown relies on a simple par-cooking technique. In fact, it's very similar to the par-frying technique used to make french fries crisp. Tossing the potatoes with olive oil and seasonings, and then partially cooking them in the microwave prior to grilling does two things:
- It greatly reduces the grilling (and babysitting, and flipping) time.
- It results in a much crispier grill fry.
Isn’t that what we all want? A crispy fry without the deep-fried guilt and extra cooking time?
The Trouble with Deep-Fried French Fries
With this clean-and-healthy fry recipe, we’re also avoiding the most problematic part of deep-fried foods: highly refined oils. Most restaurants use canola, peanut, and/or soybean oil in their deep-fat fryers. These industrial oils and oil blends have a high smoke point and are shelf-stable, which guarantees an economical way to churn out french fries, onion rings, and chicken wings. The trouble is that these oils have a significant price tag when it comes to your health.
The processing required to get these oils clear, clean-smelling, shelf-stable, and free of sediment requires solvents (like hexane, a known neurotoxin), heat treatment (which causes oxidation and increases free radicals), deodorizers, and even bleaching. Also, consider that these oils are typically created from genetically modified crops. Finally, many of these oils contain a high percentage of Omega-6 fats, which are not bad in certain quantities, but are overabundant in the modern diet and can lead to health complications and inflammation.
A simple rule of thumb when choosing oils is to avoid any refined oils (like vegetable, corn, peanut, soy, or canola). You can read more about this in my Guide to Healthy Cooking Fats & Oils.
The Secret to Crispy Grill Fries
Something most fry lovers don’t realize is that to make french fries crispy, they’re fried twice: once at a low oil temp (a step called “oil-blanching”), and once again at a high oil temp. Fries that haven’t been oil-blanched tend to be limp, heavy, and soggy with oil.
Microwaving these crispy grill fries with a bit of oil achieves a similar effect of a delightfully crispy exterior. And as an added benefit, it further infuses the seasonings into the potatoes. It also makes it easier to hold the potatoes until you’re ready to grill them, without worry of them oxidizing and turning brown. Just follow the instructions and you’re good to go!
Are Potatoes A Thyroid-healthy Food?
White potatoes have gotten a bad rap in the diet world, but lately, the tides are turning for this highly nutritious tuber. In fact, JJ Virgin calls potatoes “Nature’s Diet Pill,” pointing to the fact that one potato has more potassium than a banana, and that the resistant type of starch they contain is a champion of good gut health.
For health experts like Virgin and Dr. Oz, the problem with potatoes isn’t the potatoes themselves, but all the junk we add to them, and the processes we put them through. Deep-fat frying, as we already learned, takes all the good out of these healthy tubers and turns them into something harmful. Hence, the need for healthier alternatives like this recipe!
As to whether potatoes are okay for you to eat, the answer to that question, as always, depends on your current dietary needs and requirements.
White potatoes have recently become Whole30 approved, and are now considered Paleo by many experts. They are, however, in the nightshade family, so they should be avoided by anyone who is sensitive to nightshades or following the elimination phase of the AIP diet.
Further Reading: Are White Potatoes Thyroid-healthy?
Thyroid-healthy Recipe Highlights:
- Potatoes are high in many nutrients and antioxidants like Vitamins C, B6, and Potassium. They are also high in resistant starch, which feeds the beneficial bacteria in your gut and can help maintain a healthy blood sugar balance.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil is considered one of the world’s healthiest fats. Some of its many scientifically-proven health benefits include anti-inflammatory properties, high antioxidants, and reduced risk of cancer, Alzheimer’s, and heart disease.
- Sea salt is a natural source of iodine as well as numerous other bioavailable trace minerals.