Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Last week I wrote a little post about one of our cooking adventures while in the South of France last year, where we cooked our first batch of fries in horse fat, which our friend Mikael sourced from one of the horse butchers in Nice. Jeffrey Steingarten who is one of my favorite food writers –I have a soft spot for grumpy old men, especially the pedantic ones- also wrote about horse fat fries in one of his columns in Vogue magazine a while back.
Quite a few of you left comments and emails, asking what about the horse fat that makes it such a great medium for fried potatoes. Alas I had no idea. I could only tell you what I tasted. Frankly, I was quite curious about it myself.
And so I thought who’d be better to ask than Harold McGee? So I did. I fired off and email to Harold, who promptly wrote back:
Can you describe how the fries were different, or especially good? Horse fat is actually sort of intermediate between solid animal fats and liquid vegetable oils. It’s harder (more saturated) than the latter, but softer than tallow or lard, not too different from chicken or duck or goose fat. So I wonder whether it was maybe a difference in the flavor more than the texture? Because I don’t see how the consistency of the fat itself would make a distinctive difference in the texture of the fries. Tell me what you remember about them, and I’ll see how good of a rationalization I can come up with!