Baked Greek Feta Fries are crispy on the outside, soft on the inside and an absolute explosion of flavor from the feta cheese, a few squeezes of lemon juice, and wonderful garlic & herbs. Perfect as an appetizer, side dish, or even as a meal all on their own!
These baked Greek feta fries are phenomenal. Not only do they remind me of our trip to Greece in after graduating law school which I talked about a little bit in this post about Greek Tzatziki Sauce (which is wonderful for dipping these fries in, btw), but they are also a copycat version of the fries we used to get at Opa!, one of our favorite restaurants in the Bay Area. We used to eat there all the time for their excellent gyros and their Greek fries that come loaded with tangy, flavorful feta and dressed with some garlic and herbs and a squeeze of lemon juice. Oh, and while I actually like the extra punch of the raw garlic on these, you could totttttally use some incredible roasted garlic instead if you want a more mellow garlic flavor to your fries.
It took a little tweaking at home, and I baked them instead of frying them because, well, I can at least pretend to try to make healthier choices every now and then, but these are super close to those wonderful Opa! fries. The feta melts just a little bit, the lemon juice is just right and the fresh garlic and herbs just bring the whole thing home for a wonnnnnnderful side dish with some marinated chicken or Greek meatballs or even grilled fish. You are totally welcome to actually fry your fries, if that works for you. But if you haven’t tried doing fries in the oven before, here are some pointers for oven-baked fries that are crispy on the outside and soft inside.
5 Tips for Amazing Oven-Baked “Fries”
1. Use a hot pan.
A common problem when roasting potatoes in the oven is that they have a tendency to stick to the pan and fall apart when you go to flip or serve them. Especially fries since they are cut so much thinner than wedges or chunks of potato. Preheating the pan with a couple tablespoons of the oil called for in the recipe helps make it so the potatoes don’t stick and they develop a nice, crispy crust on the cut side that is laying directly against the pan.
2. Don’t crowd the pan.
Leave a little space between the potatoes or use 2 separate pans if possible. Definitely only cook them in a single layer. This will help your fries cook more evenly and get a little more crispy.
3. Cut your fries to be the same size.
If some of your fries are thicker than others, they are going to take longer to cook through and you will end up either overcooking the smaller fries or undercooking the larger fries. Using a mandolin or a fry cutter can really help with this, but if you have the knife skills, then by all means, go ahead and slice your fries with a large knife. And you can leave the peels on if you like, which I definitely do, or peel them if that’s what you prefer.
4. Soak your fries.
After cutting your fries, let them soak in a large bowl full of cold water for at least 30 minutes-1 hour so that some of the starch can leech out of the potatoes. I try to do this whether I am baking fries or frying them in oil. After they have soaked, be sure to dry them well on paper towels so they don’t steam in the oven. This process of soaking and drying your cut fries will help the potatoes crisp better in the oven.
5. Leave them alone.
Handle the fries as little as possible. No need to flip them over and over. Just once, halfway through the cooking time, will do the trick. More than that and the potatoes will start to fall apart and won’t be able to develop the nice, crispy, crusty brown exterior that makes them so, so delectable.
So there you have it! It feels like a lot of tips for something as simple as fries, but they will make a big difference in the end product and don’t really take much extra effort on your part. I’m thinking you probably ought to make these this week. Probably today. Just sayin’.
- 4 large Russett potatoes
- 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 1 lemon
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
- 1/2 cup feta cheese crumbles
Wash potatoes well and slice in half lengthwise leaving the skin on, then slice again, and again as needed to create evenly-sized fries. It is important that the fries be similar to each other in size and thickness so that they cook evenly.
Place sliced potatoes in a large bowl of ice water and allow to soak for 30 minutes to 1 hour, which will help some of the excess starch to leech out of the fries. Drain well and pat completely dry on paper towels. This process of soaking and drying will help the potatoes crisp better in the oven.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Pour 2 tablespoons of the olive oil onto a baking sheet and place in the oven to get hot. While the pan and oil are heating, drizzle the dried potato slices with the remaining 4 tablespoons of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Remove hot pan from the oven just before the oil starts smoking and carefully arrange the fries in a single layer. Return the pan to the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, turning the fries with a metal spatula once at the 20 minute mark.
Once the fries are soft on the inside and crispy and browned on the outside, remove from oven and pile onto a serving plate. Drizzle with the juice of 1/2 of the lemon, then sprinkle with the oregano, garlic, parsley (if desired) and feta cheese. Slice the remaining 1/2 of the lemon into wedges and use them to garnish the serving plate. Adjust salt if necessary, but remember that the feta itself is quite salty so in all likelihood you won't need to add any salt.
Serve immediately, family style.
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