Shaping Pommes Soufflées

Making perfect pommes soufflees (click here for a full recipe) comes down to careful shaping and slicing. Cutting the potatoes into football shapes with a sharp paring knife makes them easier to slice and cook and yields elegant-looking fries.

1. Start with a sharp paring knife and a large russet potato weighing about 12 ounces.

2. With the knife positioned about 1/2" into the potato, slice off a piece.

3. With the knife positioned about 1/2" in from the potato's end, slice off another piece.

4. With the knife positioned about 1/2" into the potato, slice off a piece.

5. With the knife positioned about 1/2" in from the potato's other end, slice off another piece.

6. Rest the potato on one of its long sides and, with the knife positioned about 1/4" into its flesh, slice off a piece.

7. Repeat step 6 with the other long side of the potato so that it takes on a rectangular shape.

8. Starting at the short end of the rectangle, slice a diagonal piece off one corner.

9. Continue slicing diagonally on the three remaining corners of the rectangle.

10. You should now have a potato shaped roughly like a diamond.

11. Round off the sides of the potato.

12. You should now have a potato shaped roughly like a football.

13. Using a plastic Japanese-style mandoline, slice the potato lengthwise into 1/8"-thick slices and transfer them to a bowl filled with cold water.