The only thing better than crispy french fries is french fries topped with all of the things. You already know about my fascination and love for carne asada fries. Fries topped with cheese, grilled steak guacamole, tomato, sour cream and salsa verde. It’s a big thing here in Southern California, so if you haven’t tried them for yourself yet, I highly recommend it. If you have and you’ve fallen in love, just like I have, then I suggest you join me on my next french fry adventure. I’m now bringing you Mediterranean Gyro Fries. It’s all the things we love in gyros and Greek salad, piled on top of homemade crispy french fries. We can feel good about it because most of the ingredients are healthy. Most. I mean sure, there are fried potatoes at the base of this recipe and sure garlic aioli and feta cheese probably aren’t the healthiest BUT everything else is good for you and those definitely outweigh the irresistible ingredients. In my humble opinion.
It’s Friday, we should be living life and not be worrying about anything for the next two days. We only live once. The weekend is for letting loose and having fun, but still being adults and making responsible decision. (That’s just in case my mamma is reading this, wink wink). I don’t know about you, but making and eating french fries all day long most definitely counts as having fun. I have to admit, homemade fries can be a little more work than we want to be doing on the weekend, but whenever crispy potatoes are the end result of anything, it instantly becomes worth all of the effort. There is no greater payoff. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t have the biggest sweet tooth necessarily. I’d much rather skip dessert if it meant having a second helping of something savory, preferably something savory and deep fried. Cakes and cookies can come and go and I won’t budge, but as soon as fries (or potatoes in general) and cheese and bread come into the picture, I lose all self control. It’s a real problem. Send help.
Lucky for us, it’s the weekend and I’m here to make sure we all lose our self control together. I’ve decided that my sole purpose in life is to tempt you with guilty food. I’ve been practicing my “Oooh ahhh, look at this. You know you want it. Come on, everyone else is eating it,” lines to throw at you. It helps to be prepared. It’s also a lot more fun when you have someone else being gluttonous alongside you, isn’t it? Gorging on a big pile of fries all by yourself is just sad, although not the worst thing that can happen I must admit. I’m sure there are worse punishments in life. This recipe is definitely worth sharing, so grab your friends, your family, your pets and eat like the kings and queens you are.
I can be really boring sometimes when it comes to my food choices. I’ll never say no to chicken and 9 times out of 10, I’ll order the same thing at any restaurant. If there’s roasted chicken on the menu, you better believe I’ll be ordering it. I’m a creature of habit. I’ll definitely always get a chicken gyro rather than lamb. So it should come as no surprise that I’m using chicken for my gyro fries.
We’re going to make a quick and easy marinade for our chicken. In a large bowl, combine the chicken with olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt, pepper, granulated garlic, granulated onion, crushed red chili, fresh thyme and fresh oregano. Mix everything together and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Allow to rest in the fridge for several hours or overnight.
**Note: I’m using boneless skinless chicken breast cutlets because they cook up in no time, but feel free to use boneless skinless thighs if you prefer. You’ll definitely get better tasting chicken if you do.**
While the chicken does its thing in the fridge, let’s make some garlic aioli, for the fries. Fries and aioli are a match made in heaven.
So this is a fake-out aioli. Don’t judge me. We’re not going to do the whole homemade from scratch aioli with the eggs and oil today…that’s too much work. The quicker we make these fries, the sooner we get to devour them. That’s my reasoning behind my choices in this post. In a small bowl, combine the grated garlic, olive oil, mayo, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
Whisk everything together until thick and creamy.
**Tip: You can also roast the garlic in the oven before mixing it into the aioli if you want a more robust flavor. That sounds delicious, but again, we’re trying to make this recipe as simple as possible. Grate the garlic with a microplane. That way you don’t end up with any large bits of garlic!**
Cover with plastic wrap and store in the fridge until ready to use.
**Note: This is even better the more it sits, so if you can make it a day or two in advance and keep it in the fridge until you’re ready to make the fries, then you’ll be good to go. If you don’t have that kind of time, don’t worry about it. A few hours in the fridge is enough.**
Let’s move on to the star of the show. The potatoes.
I rinsed and peeled the potatoes (leaving little bits of the skin throughout because I like the look of that) and then I cut them into thin fry shapes. Submerge the fries in water as you continue to cut the rest of the potatoes. That’ll prevent them from turning brown.
Heat a large pot filled with about 2 quarts of vegetable oil (it should reach about halfway up the pan), over medium-high. Heat the oil until it registers about 325ºF with a candy thermometer. Fry the potatoes in batches, making sure to dry them very well before putting them into the hot oil.
**Tip: Don’t over crowd the pot with potatoes because it’ll drop the temperature of the oil and then they won’t fry properly and you’ll end up with soggy fries. Keep in mind that you’ll have to fry them in several batches.**
Fry the potatoes for about 3 minutes, until soft but not browned. This first fry is only to cook them, not to make them crispy and golden brown. Keep that in mind. Transfer to a wire rack, set over a baking sheet and continue frying the rest of the potatoes.
Once all of the potatoes have been fried once, raise the temperature of the oil to 375ºF. Carefully return the fried potatoes back into the hot oil, once again in batches, and fry for about 4 minutes until golden brown and crispy.
Transfer to a wire rack, set over a baking sheet and continue refrying the remaining fries. Season the fries with salt as soon as they come out of the hot oil, so that the salt sticks on them.
**Tip: Pop the fries into a preheated 250ºF oven to keep them warm and crispy while we finish getting everything else together.**
Cook the marinated chicken on a stove top grill or a skillet with a bit of olive oil. Cook for about 4 to 5 minutes on the first side, to really develop that crispy golden brown crust and then flip over and continue cooking for about 2 to 3 minutes. Remember, I’m using cutlets so they cook faster!
Remove the chicken from the skillet or grill and transfer to a plate. Allow to rest for about 10 to 15 minutes before chopping.
Let’s talk toppings. I’ve made to include of the things found in a gyro and then some. You can decide for yourself, depending on your taste, of what you want to include and don’t want to include. Use this as a guide or be cool like me and use it all!
The toppings include but not limited to: Homemade garlic aioli, hummus, green bell pepper, tomato, red onion, feta, cucumber, black olives, peperoncino and our chicken we cooked earlier.
Start by piling the fries into four (or two depending on how hungry you are) dishes. Drizzle with aioli and hummus on top of the fries.
**Note: You can pile the fries onto one large plate or platter and serve the Mediterranean Gyro Fries as an appetizer for everyone to share! Or serve them individually, like I did. Either way works.**
**Tip: I transferred the hummus and aioli into two separate sandwich bags and snipped off the ends, and then used them as pastry bags to squirt them on top of the fries!**
Then just go to town and pile on high the toppings you’d like! Finish things off with a crumbling of feta cheese and crushed dried oregano on top for that final touch.
These are best eaten right when you make them so that the fries remain crispy and hot. But I do have to tell you that by the time I finished shooting them and got around to finally eating them, they were cold and not as crispy but you know what, they were still super tasty. So definitely eat them hot, but if for whatever reason they get to room temperature, it won’t be the end of the world.
Good news: There are a few things you can make ahead of time. The garlic aioli can be made several days in advance and be kept in the fridge. And the chicken can be marinaded the day before and then cooked and chopped the day you plan on using it. Even better news: If you don’t have the time to make homemade fries, grab a bag of frozen fries and pop them in the oven until crispy. I won’t say anything. It’ll be our little secret.
Feel free to leave out the chicken if you want to keep things vegetarian. I’ve given you all of these options to make these fries, so that there are no excuses to try them for yourself. Get in that kitchen this weekend and make some crazy fries. Enjoy!
- 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast cutlets
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 2 garlic cloves, grated
- 1/2 cup mayo
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 pounds baking potatoes (about 4 medium)
- 2 quarts vegetable or canola oil, for frying
- 1 tablespoon coarse salt
- 1 cup hummus (store bought)
- 2 small tomatoes, diced
- 1 small cucumber, diced
- 1 small green bell pepper, diced
- 1/2 red onion, diced
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta
- 1/4 cup peperoncini, sliced
- 1/4 cup sliced black olives
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- For the chicken, combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl (except for the chicken) until well combined. Add the chicken and mix until fully incorporated with the marinade. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow to chill for at least 1 hour, or overnight.
- For the aioli, whisk all of the ingredients in a medium bowl until smooth and somewhat thick. Cover with plastic wrap and chill until ready to use.
- For the fries, peel and cut the potatoes into thin long slices. Submerge in water to keep from browning.
- Heat the oil in a large pot until 325 degrees F. Fry the potatoes in batches, making sure to dry them well before putting in the oil. Fry for about 3 minutes until soft but not browned. Transfer to a wire rack, set over a baking sheet and continue frying the rest.
- Raise the temperature of the oil to 375 degrees F. Refry the potatoes in batches, for about 4 minutes until golden brown and crispy. Transfer to wire rack and continue frying the rest. Season with salt as soon as they come out of the oil. Keep the fries warm in a preheated 250 degree F oven.
- Cook the chicken in a skillet or stove top grill for about 4 to 5 minutes on the first side. Flip over and continue to cook for about 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate or platter and allow to rest for about 10 to 15 minutes before cutting. You might have to cook the chicken in batches, depending on how big your skillet or grill is.
- Once you're ready to assemble, pile the fries onto one large platter or 4 individual plates and drizzle with the garlic aioli and hummus. Top with the chicken and your desired toppings, finishing off with a bit of dried oregano at the end. Eat immediately. Enjoy!
- yields: about 4 to 6 servings