Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Pour at least 1 inch of oil into a deep pot and heat it to 350 degrees F.
Slice the potatoes into thin matchsticks (1/8-inch thick) with a vegetable slicer or mandoline, dropping them into a bowl of cold water as you cut. Drain the potatoes and dry them thoroughly with paper towels. Drop the potatoes in batches into the hot oil and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the pot with a wire basket skimmer or slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Place on a baking sheet, sprinkle with salt, and keep warm in the oven while you cook the rest of the potatoes.
Sprinkle the potatoes with parsley, if desired, and serve hot.
Photograph by Johnny Miller
Recipe from Barefoot in Paris. Copyright (c) 2004 by Ina Garten. By arrangement with Clarkson Potter/Publishers, A Division of Random House, LLC.