There are times in life when fries are absolutely, completely necessary. This is one of those times.
The holidays are upon us. For home cooks, this stretch of time brings out the best and the worst. One day, we’ll dazzle like Olympic medalists who’ve just won the gold. Other days, we won’t be able to cook for the life of us. Yes, the cooking grind is real.
All those extra-special meals. All those gatherings and potlucks. All the exhaustion of trying to bring your A-game to the most wonderful time of the year.
This is the perfect antidote to the holiday madness. A simple meal or snack when you’re exhausted from the holiday rush. An appetizer to throw together for that last minute get-together.
And it couldn’t be simpler. Frozen french fries. Pungent kimchi. And loads and loads of cheese.
Yes, it really is that easy.
At first, I tried to make these with homemade French fries. But no, that wouldn’t do. I wanted simple, simple, simple. That’s how a bag of frozen french fries became my new BFF.
If you’re a french fry snob here, I understand. But let me assure you, there will be a day when you will be thanking me. This recipe does not require that you peel, julienne, soak, and fry potatoes in small batches. Trust that one day, you will be thankful for that plebeian bag of processed french fries in the freezer.
The Rules of Engagement:
Toast the fries in the oven. High heat for maximum crispness.
Cook kimchi for 5-8 minutes until golden orange in color. Then scatter cooked kimchi on top of fries.
Smother with cheese.
Another round in the oven. This time on moderate heat. We want the cheese to melt into puddles of gooey satisfaction.
Now it’s time to eat. Forks optional.
Crispy fries. Melty cheese. Pungent kimchi. Perfection on a plate.
- 1 lb frozen french fries
- 1 cup kimchi chopped
- 2-3 cups mozzarella cheese grated
- 1 tsp sesame seeds for garnish optional
- 1 chopped green onion for garnish optional
- 1 sliced red chile pepper or jalapeno for garnish optional
Cook frozen french fries according to package directions until they are crisp and cooked through. Use a sheet pan and make sure they are in one layer and spaced evenly.
Meanwhile, heat a small pan over medium high heat. Add 1 tsp of neutral cooking oil (I use grapeseed oil). When the oil is heated, add the kimchi and all the juices. Saute for 5-8 minutes, adding 1-2 Tbsp of water if the pan gets too dry. The kimchi should be golden orange in color and cooked through.
Remove french fries from the oven and reduce heat to 350F. Pile fries into an oven proof dish. Scatter the cooked kimchi on top.
Cover with cheese.
Heat in the oven for 5-8 minutes at 350F, until the cheese is melted and gooey. Make sure not to overcook the cheese, as it will stiffen and harden. Remove from oven. Garnish. Serve hot and enjoy!
* This dish is easy to multiply. Simply double the ingredients. To ensure maximum crispiness in the fries, make sure the fries are in one layer, evenly spaced. Use multiple sheet pans if necessary.