Potatoes often get a bad rap from health-conscious diners, but they are rich in Vitamin C and potassium and relatively low in calories. French-fried potatoes are easy to make with just a few teaspoons of oil and your choice of seasonings. In just a few minutes, you can produce crispy, low-fat fries with a flavor that surpasses the French fries in your favorite fast-food restaurant. For low-sodium fries, season the potatoes with garlic or onion powder or paprika.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Cover a baking tray with aluminum foil, then brush the foil lightly with olive or canola oil to prevent the French fries from sticking to the foil.
Prepare firm, solid potatoes with no soft spots or sprouts. Use russet or Idaho potatoes for French fries since they have a high starch content and hold their shape. Hold the potatoes under cool running water while you scrub them with a soft vegetable brush.
Peel the potatoes. Alternatively, leave the peel on the potatoes to boost the fiber and nutritional content. Place the potatoes on a sturdy cutting board, then use a sharp chef's knife to cut the potatoes lengthwise into 1/2-inch strips. If you like crispy French fries, cut each strip in half lengthwise again to make 1/4-inch strips. The thinner the strips, the crispier the French fries.
Place the sliced potatoes in a large mixing bowl; then drizzle the potatoes lightly with olive or canola oil. Stir the potatoes with a spatula to coat the potatoes. Season the potatoes with salt and pepper to your preference. You can use regular table salt, sea salt or kosher salt. Similarly, season the French fries with regular ground pepper or freshly ground black pepper.
Arrange the French fries on a single layer on the baking tray. Bake the potatoes for 12 minutes. Remove the tray from the oven and stir the French fries to promote even cooking. Return the tray to the oven and bake for an additional 10 to 12 minutes or until the potatoes are crisp and golden brown.
Remove the French fries from the oven. Allow the potatoes to cool slightly, then serve hot.