Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Home Made Potato Chips

My downfall is a plate of home made chips. No matter how far back on the lowest shelf in the pantry I jam the bag, it manages to wiggle front and center when the hunger monkey taps on my shoulder. My favorites are Lays Salt and Vinegar Chips. They are sooooo spicy – I literally fry my mouth every time I eat them, and yet I still buy them.
Recently, I was lunching with the gals. We ordered bacon, lettuce and tomato panini sandwiches with mozzarella … yumm!! Before the sandwiches arrived, the waitress plopped down a couple baskets of warm potato chips. Yumm, viola! I was inspired, and to the kitchen I ran.
The secret to great home made chips is three-fold. You need a mandoline, very hot oil, and seasoned salt. A mandoline is a food slicer that allows you to cut the food very, very thin. Of course, there are many more applications for this utensil, like attachments that julienne veggies and create waffle fries. You can purchase a hand-held mandoline for a few dollars or blow the budget on a chef’s quality stainless steel professional mandoline slicer. Which ever product you choose, keep in mind this one little thing – protect your finger tips, these tools are sharp.
Many cooks prefer frying in peanut oil, but my favorite is canola oil: it’s light, with no overwhelming flavor and the taste of the potato comes shining through. I begin by heating the oil in a skillet with deep sides. Use the tip of a wooden spoon to determine whether the oil is hot enough to get started. It will bubble when the oil is hot, hot. Fry the potato slices in batches. Don’t overcrowd the pan and watch carefully. When golden on one side, carefully flip over and fry until golden on the second side. The whole process takes about a minute. Drain the chips on paper towels on a baking sheet, and then place into an oven heated to 150°. This will further crisp up the chips.
You can simply season the chips with salt. But, you can own the chips by seasoning with combinations of your favorite spices. I like sea salt mixed with a tad of smoky paprika and a pinch of herbs de Provence. For sweet potato fries, I like to create a Cajun seasoning mix by combining chili powder, cinnamon and cumin. Use your imagination for the perfect seasoning blend. The secret is to season the chips immediately after you transfer them to the paper towels.
A russet potato makes the best potato chips. You needn’t peel the potato; the skin has extra nutrients. Don’t limit your chip expertise to potatoes. Use sweet potatoes, beets, celery root, parsnips, even carrots. If you can slice it thin and fry it, you can call it a chip!
Take a look at my recipe for Home Made Potato Chips with Caramelized Onion Dip for a special snack treat. A bit of effort yields a ton of flavor!

Home Made Potato Chips with Caramelized Onion Dip

Chips and onion dip – a perfect snack combo that you can enjoy without guilt. No ripping open the chip bag or tearing at that little blue envelope. This home made version contains real ingredients, just what you need when the snack munchies come a knockin’.

For chips:
2 large russet potatoes
Canola oil for frying
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
1 teaspoon Herbs de Provence
½ teaspoon coarse ground pepper

For dip:
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large yellow onion, peeled and thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon coarse ground pepper
1 tablespoon Balsamic vinegar
1 (4-ounce) package cream cheese, room temperature
½ cup sour cream
½ cup mayonnaise

Use a mandoline to cut the potatoes into very thin slices. Transfer the slices into a bowl of cold water.

Combine the seat salt, paprika and herbs de Provence in a small bowl. Set aside.

Remove the slices from the water to paper towels and pat dry completely.

Preheat the oven to 150°. Pour canola oil, about 1-inch deep into the bottom of a deep skillet over high heat. When the oil is very hot, place some of the potato slices into the skillet. Do not crowd the pan. Cook until golden on one side. Turn and cook on the other side, about 1 minute total. If the oil is too hot, turn the temperature down to medium high.

Transfer the potato slices to a baking sheet lined with paper towels. Sprinkle the seasoning over the chips. Place the baking sheet into the oven for 10 to 15 minutes. The chips will dry out and crisp up. Place the chips into an airtight container for up to 2 days.

Melt the butter and olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Add the onion and cook until golden, about 5 to 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Pour in the Balsamic vinegar. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the sliced onion is quite brown and syrupy. Cool to room temperature.

Place the cream cheese, sour cream and mayonnaise into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to combine. Add the caramelized onion and pulse for a few seconds more. Add more seasoning if needed. Pour the dip into a bowl and serve.

Serves a crowd
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes to cook all of the chips and 15 more for the onion
Related Posts with Thumbnails