february 29 perfect french friesfebruary 29 perfect french friesfebruary 29 perfect french friesfebruary 29 perfect french friesfebruary 29 perfect french friesfebruary 29 perfect french friesfebruary 29 perfect french friesfebruary 29 perfect french friesfebruary 29 perfect french friesfebruary 29 perfect french friesfebruary 29 perfect french friesfebruary 29 perfect french fries

February 29 only comes every 4 years, which is why I’m taking this opportunity to show you how to make PERFECT FRIES ! 

*and pay careful attention, because I’ll only do this type of recipe/technique for you, only once every 4 years.

And I’m not talking about the skinny fries you can get at McDonalds, but the thicker-cut ones you can make at home. But be warned, several steps are required, but some steps will allow you to make them ahead of time, in order to refrigerate and/or freeze them before the final frying.

I began the experiments exactly 4 months ago, and then repeated the experiments several times until it became natural to me, no longer requiring measurements or any particular precision. When I realized the special date today, it was time to share it with you.

There are several approaches and each will provide you with tasty fries, but not necessarily the right texture, unless you have particular instruments and ingredients (I’m talking about cooking thermometers or real fryers or even beef fat).

I do have a fryer now and thermometers and special fats but it was important for me to stay simple or at least provide a simple solution, using regular oil, regular potatoes a frying pan (a wok is best) and your sharp eyes and judgement.

I experimented with 3 methods : the 1st and best method (number 1 in the photos) consists of peeling then slicing the potatoes, then boiling, then frying, then re-frying. the 2nd method consists of peeling, soaking for 6-8 hours, then slicing and soaking for 6-8 hours more, then frying, then re-frying and the 3rd method consists of peeling, just rinsing, then slicing (no rinsing or soaking again), then frying in (beef fat), then re-frying.

Either way, several steps are always needed, but the 1st version also allows you to make them ahead of time, which is definitely a big PLUS. It also provides the tenderest inside and the crunchiest and firmest outside (you can definitely see the difference in the photos).

Let’s be honest, just slicing, rinsing, soaking, drying and only frying once is fine too, but once you try this method and get used to doing it this way, you’ll end up sticking with it … Anyways, February 29 only happens every 4 years, so enjoy … :)

p.s.: in Montreal, we love slightly soggier fries in a brown paper bag with salt & vinegar !

february 29 perfect french fries




  • 1 kg of regular large potatoes (3-4 large)
  • 2 liters of water
  • 2 tbsp coarse salt
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar
  • 2 liters vegetable oil for frying (peanut oil is best, but more expensive)

seasonings :

  • salt & white vinegar too (if you’re from Montreal) and whatever else you like ...


  • peel your potatoes, then slice to 1 cm X 1 cm thickness (I used a 1 cm X 1 cm slicing tool)
  • in a large pot, combine water, salt and vinegar, place sliced potatoes inside the cold water, turn on heat to high and bring to a boil (it will take approximately 5 minutes to start boiling) and then let boil for 10 minutes until the potato slices are more tender but not breaking nor falling apart
  • remove fries and place on a rack with paper towels and allow to completely dry and cool (in a cool place is even better so that the extra moisture in the fries can evaporate) for 10-30 minutes
  •  heat the oil in a large frying pan (or a large wok which is even better and makes it easier to move and stir the fries inside) to 170°C - 175°C

 note : if you do have a fryer with a temperature control knob or a cooking thermometer that attaches to your frying pan/wok it’s easier but you can also test the oil temperature readiness by using a wooden chopstick, the oil is ready when the oil starts bubbling around the chopstick

  • gently place half the fries inside (the temperature will drop to 160°C - 165°C) and fry for 2 minutes until very slightly golden (but not browned) and a slight skin with very small bubbles develops
  • remove the fries with a kitchen spider spoon, place on a rack and let cool and continue with the rest of the fries (or second batch) after the temperature has risen again to maximum heat
  • let all the half-fried fries cool down on a rack for at least 30 minutes before re-frying a second time

note : at this point, you can also refrigerate the fries and/or freeze them overnight or much longer (several weeks)

  • reheat the frying oil to maximum heat (190°C – 200°C) and re-fry the half-fried fries for  3 ½ - 4 minutes until golden and crispy, one batch at a time, let the heat reach high temperature again before frying the second batch
  • place fries on paper towels to drain and keep warm in a 90°C-100°C oven (if necessary) and until ready to serve
  • season with salt (and white vinegar, just like we do in Montreal) or any other spices such as ground pepper, paprika, etc. …

p.s. : much, much, much research and adaptations went into this technique and from many, many, many different sources, finally it's closest to how you make smashed potatoes, boil then bake, now it's boil then fry then fry again ... :)