when life gives you duck fat…

March 17th, 2008 · 20 Comments


make fries… but please note that if you were heston blumenthal* – world renowned, 3 michelin starred chef of ‘the fat duck‘ you would do this:

Heston Blumenthal’s Triple Cooked Chips

  • put a pot of water on to a bare boil
  • cut the potatoes into 1/2 inch strips
  • simmer until just cooked through – you don’t want them to fall apart
  • remove with a slotted spoon – place them where they can drain and dry in the refrigerator
  • when they’re cool place them in�peanut oil�that’s heated to about�250 f
  • fry but don’t let them color – remove from oil, drain�and place back into the fridge
  • when cooled, fry them again at about 375 f until browned
  • drain, season and serve

(*i am not heston blumenthal – not even a little)

and wouldn’t you think that a guy with a restaurant called "the fat duck" would fry his potatoes in duck fat? go figure.

and on another much more bizarre note, harold mcgee* – molecular gastronomist extraordinaire says that horse fat is the way to go for the #1 best fries.

(*i am not harold mcgee – not even a very little)

Tags: duck · potatoes

20 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Lesley // Mar 17, 2008 at 11:39 pm

    The fries look delicious (love the presentation!), but I leave such things to the experts: Ore Ida and various restaurants. I do not like cooking with oil…

    In-N-Out’s fries were amazing. Num.

  • 2 Donald // Mar 18, 2008 at 2:55 am

    Great pix Claudia (as usual).

    But, I confused? Which method did you use? Horse or duck?

  • 3 Mari // Mar 18, 2008 at 3:39 am

    When I was in Chicago at the beginning of the year I went to Hot Doug’s: The Sausage Superstore and Encased Meat Emporium (http://www.hotdougs.com), and they make duck fat fries (on Fridays and Saturdays only). We went on a Tuesday, so we missed out on the fries. I still proposed to Doug, for his wicked talent with sausages. It was a life changing event. While 5 of us, devoured 7 different kinds of gourmet hot dogs, we talked duck fat vs. horse fat fries.

  • 4 Justin // Mar 18, 2008 at 5:53 am

    my biggest problem with horse-fat fries would be the horse breasts I would have to eat for dinner the night before. I haven’t even seen that masochist Andrew Zimmern try that one…yet

  • 5 claudia // Mar 18, 2008 at 7:37 am

    justin – wow. what a concept. that’d be quite the breast… yowza.

    mari – this topic to me is fascinating. but the whole horse thing is so bizarro. and i hear it has quite the odor. but i’ll try anything.

    donald – duck fat from my duck breasts!

    lesley – you’re not allowed to say ‘num’ on my blog. and if you ever go to the full ‘nummy’ you will be barred and i will plunge hot pokers in my eyeballs just from seeing it before me…

  • 6 ntsc // Mar 18, 2008 at 10:33 am

    You can no longer buy horse for human consumption in the US, as the only three states with horse butchers outlawed the practice.

    Can those cute lil cows be far behind?

  • 7 Robert // Mar 18, 2008 at 10:40 am


    Barter doesnt count as a purchase in our state. Whatcha got to trade?

  • 8 claudia // Mar 18, 2008 at 11:11 am

    robert – you mean? you couldn’t possibly mean…

  • 9 cookiecrumb // Mar 18, 2008 at 11:17 am

    I only made french fries once. In sixth-grade Home Economics — so somebody else had to deal with the leftover oil, thank goodness. (Horse fat? No, back in my day it was Wesson oil.)

  • 10 Meg // Mar 18, 2008 at 12:34 pm

    num (sorry, couldn’t help it).
    Wow. Those look amazing. I adore duck fat frites, but to be honest, if I want potatoes in duck fat, I roast them, or head out to a not-too-distant french restaurant for frites with a french 75. I am much too lazy to go through the multi-step process that a good fry requires. Did I mention that those look amazing, though? It makes a little more effort in the kitchen seem quite tempting.

  • 11 Vincent // Mar 18, 2008 at 1:23 pm

    I’m new to your site and like it Claudia – great pics. A few weeks ago I had to make 500 canapes featuring duck so I had plenty of fat to render. Making the potatoes for my 2 year old was great – she squealed when tasting them. FYI – Horse fat is sworn by in France for frites and having had them I agree. They usually don’t use russets like we do in the states and use different cooking teps at different stages. Jeffrey Steingarten has a great chapter in his book “The Man who ate Everything” on frites, referencing this whole subject.

  • 12 Donald // Mar 18, 2008 at 3:48 pm

    Yeah, duh! I can be so dense at 4am. Sorry…

  • 13 Lauren // Mar 18, 2008 at 6:40 pm

    wow. those are some serious looking fries!

  • 14 democommie // Mar 19, 2008 at 6:05 am


    My arteries are hardening, just looking at the photo!

    What Harold McGee book had that information in it?

    I ate horsemeat once, not knowing it. I was in Germany at a mesoamerican colleague’s house for dinner. His lovely french wife prepared a delicious dinner with some great “beef” which turned out to be notbeef. Tasted great.

  • 15 mari // Mar 19, 2008 at 10:41 am

    They do eat horse meat in the NL, and I’ve had paardenworst (horse sausage) before and found it quite tasty. I’ve never seen horse fat however. My friend in Chicago is obsessed with it too, so I was doing some research on it over here, but haven’t come up with a sample, as of yet.

  • 16 michelle @ TNS // Mar 19, 2008 at 4:28 pm

    heston blumenthal is not fucking around with the cooking of the fries.

    i know it’s hypocritical of me because i eat all manner of other animals, but i unequivocally reject anything fried in horse fat.

    duck fat is my total BFF, but it doesn’t know it yet.

  • 17 We Are Never Full // Apr 23, 2008 at 10:20 am

    you dirty, dirty, BAD girl. Oh no you didn’t! Oh yes you did. This is probably the side dish I’d choose on my deathbed. Hell, it’d probably send me to my deathbed!! This is a beautiful thing. I ate these once in France and I thought I’d honestly died and gone to heaven. If we lived in a perfect word, this is how fries would be made every time and no one would put on a pound.


  • 18 diva // Apr 23, 2008 at 10:28 am

    i hate descriminating animals. sayin which ones are better or worth protecting more but horse fat is a strict no-no!
    duck fat is pretty good but i hear goose fat is even better. potatoes roasted in goose fat and crushed fresh rosemary leaves…mmmmm.x

  • 19 Jessica@ Foodmayhem // Apr 23, 2008 at 8:08 pm

    Hi Claudia,

    Your fries caught my eye on tastespotting…and made my day. Strip House in NY is known for their Crisp Duck Fat Potatoes, which were pretty good, but I didn’t taste enough duck fat…perhaps you could one up them!

  • 20 Marc @ No Recipes // Apr 23, 2008 at 11:33 pm

    Duck fat makes EVERYTHING taste better!

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