Fries with Lemon Salt & Rosemary

fries with lemon salt & rosemary

Lemon sugar revolutionized baking for me. Lemon salt promises to do the same for everything else. Though my use of this flavored salt extends to this single recipe — “straw potatoes” seasoned with lemon salt (thanks to April Bloomfield) and fried with rosemary (thanks to Jamie Oliver) — the possibilities are endless. Salt might just become lemon salt from here on out.

I know deep frying can be intimidating — vats of hot oil are never fun — and somewhat wasteful — even small-batch frying requires a fair amount of oil — and smelly — your kitchen (house?) inevitably will smell of fast-food — but sometimes these sorts of annoyances are worth the trouble. This is one such case. You won’t be disappointed. I promise.

julienned potatoes

lemon zest & salt

mortar & pestle with sea salt and lemon zest

potatoes, rosemary, lemon salt

fries with lemon salt & rosemary

fries with lemon salt & rosemary

A few notes:

• This recipe requires a mandoline — the fine shape of the julienned potato allows them to fry up first time around (as opposed to thick-cut fries, which require a double fry) — and calls for deep frying.
• When deep frying, be very careful. Use a pot with high sides to be safe, and make sure the oil is not filled as far as half-way up the sides — two or three inches should do.
• Fry in small batches: If you add too many potatoes to the hot oil, the oil will bubble over the side of the pan and creep along your stove top, creating a huge mess and posing a serious danger to you and anyone crawling around your floor. Too many potatoes at one time, too, will bring the temperature of the oil down, which will cause the potatoes to take longer to cook also making them soggy in the process.

April Bloomfield’s Rosemary Straw Potatoes with Lemon Salt
Source: Cooking with Jamie

for the lemon salt:
zest of one lemon
4 tablespoons sea salt (I used 3)

sunflower oil (I used a mix of canola and vegetable oil)
1 3/4 lb. potatoes, peeled and julienned* (I used Yukon Gold, and I didn’t peel)
a few sprigs of rosemary

* The potatoes can be julienned in advance — about an hour or so — before they start turning slightly brown. A little brown is OK, but too much brown is probably not a good idea. Storing the potatoes in water will prevent browning, but you also must dry the potatoes very well before you start frying, which is kind of a pain.

1. Make the lemon salt: In a mortar and pestle, bash together the lemon zest and salt until salt is flavored, colored, and fine. Place in a dish. Use whatever you need right away or allow it to dry out for a couple of hours before storing it. (I made my lemon salt a day in advance and stored it in the mortar wrapped in plastic wrap.)

2. Heat 2 to 3 inches of oil in a sturdy, high-sided pan; bring to deep-frying temperature (350°F; to avoid oil catching fire, be sure to maintain its temperature at 350°F). Jamie’s tip: place a potato in the cold oil before you turn the burner on. When the potato rises to the top of the oil and begins to turn golden brown, the oil is ready. Remove the potato piece and start frying in small batches.

3. Pat the julienne strips dry with some paper towels to remove any excess starch. Making sure you’ve got a slotted spoon or spider (which is like a flat colander with a handle) and a big pile of paper towels to one side (I did not use paper towels, but instead transfered the finished fries to a large aluminum bowl, which allows for easy tossing), carefully place some of your potatoes into the pan of oil (don’t overcrowd it) for a couple of minutes (1 to 2) until golden brown and crisp. Cook potatoes in batches until they are all used up. Add the rosemary for the last 30 seconds. (Note: It’s hard to judge when the last 30 seconds will be, but the rosemary can be in the oil for as few as 10 seconds. I basically added the rosemary in at the last few seconds of each batch). Remove the potatoes and rosemary to the paper towels (or a large bowl) to soak up any excess oil; dust with your lemon salt. Serve immediately, perhaps alongside a blue cheese burger as they are at the Spotted Pig.


  1. says

    Oh, why are you torturing me? I cannot resist fries in any form, but particularly the thin, crispy variety. And I just finally ordered the mandolin. This will be trouble.

  2. Liz says

    I loved the tip about putting the potato in the cold oil. I have a fear of frying, but, as always, you have inspired me to try. Thank you!

  3. Trish says

    These look so good! They look a lot like my favorites at Nordstrom’s Bistro Cafe except in addition to rosemary they add thyme and parsley. But your addition of lemon sounds like it would take them over the top! I can’t wait to try them.

  4. Lee marshall says

    Whoa, how awesome do these look? Your photography is constantly improving. Nice work! Ok, I’m digging out the fry-daddy tomorrow! Should hold up nicely with the thick cut pork chops i grabbed this morning. I also checked out the Spotted Pig website, and now I have to go to NYC, too! Have heard of April’s work, now I can see why. Really enjoy your blog!

    • says

      Joh– The book (Cooking with Jamie) recommends storing it in a glass airtight container (like a ball jar) but it doesn’t give a life expectancy. This is my first go with it but I kind of think it will keep indefinitely? Mine is going on a week, and I’ll report back if I notice anything, but I have a feeling it will be gone before it has a chance to go bad. Hope that helps!

  5. says

    Oh yum! I made french fries not that long ago, but now I want to make shoe string fries! Also…I love the addition of rosemary. I had fries with rosemary at a restaurant once and loved them!

  6. huebscher says

    these look like trouble to me. fried rosemary in the mix is the best idea ever – very april bloomfield – and very addictive.

  7. says

    I usually don’t care that much about french fries but I want these! Thank you for the great step by step instructions. I just received a box of Maldon salt from my friend in the UK and will make the lemon salt right away.

  8. says

    I bought one of those dorky electric deep-fryers…. why? Because I can plug it in on the deck, and keep that invasive, permeating deep-fry smell out of the house! Rock on! (It’s such a pain to clean all the parts, though!)

    I have to try these — lemon salt! How have I not been making that all along??

    • says

      Mary — you don’t need a mandoline that twists (are you referring to the turning slicer?). A regular mandoline will do, but cutting shoestring fries on one can definitely be a little scary. I recommend a Kevlar glove. Be careful!

  9. says

    I love the use of lemon with these matchstick fries! They look and sound like crispy heaven and I’m so sad I can’t reach into the screen and grab one… I’m featuring this post in today’s Food Fetish Friday (with a link-back and attribution). I hope you have no objections and I love the inspiration I get from your food…

  10. says

    I’m an italian woman, i cook fried potatoes in many way but yours is exceptionally and i take a very nice inspiration!!!!! thank you!! :-)

  11. Sherri says

    These look Fantastic and sound super yummy. I was wondering if anyone has tried baking them? I bake all my “Fries”, and they always taste as good as deep fried.

  12. Dave says

    They look delicious….and I have long wanted a mandolin , this is the impetus to purchase one! However, may I say , that in line with your cooking and living philosophy, the use of vegetable oil is not ideal. Vegetable oils high in polyunsaturated fatty acids oxidise easily and a more healthful ( and tastier ! ) alternative would be organic grassfed beef or pig fat.
    Have you seen Jennifer McLagan’s book “Fat”.
    I love your recipes and website.

    • says

      Dave – how true! Thanks so much for you tips. And I have not seen “Fat” but it sounds very interesting. So, do you have a source for grassfed beef or pig fat? I recently discovered a meat coop near me, and I have just placed an order for some pasture-raised pork and chicken (we’re having a hard time making it through our cow without some sort of variety here and there), but they sell beef and lamb, too. I wonder if they sell fat too? How do you store it? Can it keep at room temperature or is the freezer best?

  13. Barbara says

    I was perusing the mandolins this morning at Amazon with the thought of making sweet potato and beet chips, but have not made up my mind which to buy. What brand do you use? I’m adding your lovely site to my Bloglovin list. These fries just blew me away.

  14. says

    Hi! Thank you for the delicious recipe. I just made thmn for dinner to go with out panko breaded Portobello burgers… Heaven! Thanks!! :)

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