A couple of weeks ago I shared with you our potato harvest, and I still have lots of potatoes to use up. Today I have a recipe that I usually only make as a treat at this time of year, using our homegrown organic potatoes, and it is for Homemade Potato Chips.
These are so good when they are homemade. (The blue chip is from the All Blue potatoes that we grew. I also used French Fingerling and German Butterball potatoes in this recipe.)
They are easy to make, but do require attention on the cook’s part because you are working around hot oil to fry up the chips.
My recipe comes from Seattle chef Tom Douglas’s excellent cookbook, Tom’s Big Dinners. The food photography and recipes in this one are fantastic–you will be very tempted to try out all the recipes in this lovely book!
For this recipe, I would recommend the best-quality potatoes you can find. For me, it’s the homegrown ones, but organic potatoes from the grocery store will work just fine, or else look for locally grown potatoes. Because this is the main ingredient, good-quality potatoes will help give your chips maximum flavor.
I also recommend you use a couple of tools for frying foods and slicing potatoes. They are:
A metal skimmer spoon, which will make scooping the chips out of the hot oil very easy, is always helpful (I found mine at Dollar Tree), but a long-handled slotted spoon will work, too. I use a mandoline for slicing the potatoes super thin. It also has a crinkle-cut blade, which gave me the fancy cut to the chips, but you don’t have to do that. Thin potato slices is key to ending up with a crisp chip. You can also use the slicer blade on a box grater or hand-cut the potato slices as thinly as possible with a very sharp knife as well, but the mandoline is easiest and probably safest to use for this project. The other is having the right oil and oil at the correct temperature. The oils that Tom Douglas recommends for this recipe are peanut, grapeseed or canola oil due to the high smoke point each of them have. He says that you can use pure olive oil if you wish, because it has a higher smoke point than extra virgin olive oil (14). For checking the oil temperature, you will want this:
I deep fry foods in a stock pot, and I just clip the candy thermometer, designed to go up to high temperatures (500 degrees F), to the side of the pot. You don’t want the tip of the thermometer to touch the bottom of the pot, or you’ll get a false temperature reading. You do want it in the middle of the oil layer to get an accurate oil temperature reading.
Things move quickly once the oil is hot, so it doesn’t take long to make a batch of your own homemade potato chips!
Homemade Potato Chips
Makes: 8 to 10 servings
Prep and cook time: approximately 30 minutes
From: Tom’s Big Dinners by Tom Douglas, pages 14-15
2-3 large russet potatoes (about 2 pounds), peeled (I didn’t bother peeling ours because the skins are thin)
Peanut, canola or grapeseed oil for deep frying (Note: it takes a lot of oil to deep fry–I used half of a big Costco-sized bottle of canola oil in my stock pot.)
1. Using a slicer or mandoline, cut the potatoes into almost-paper thin slices, about 1/16th inch thick or less. Place the potato slices in a bowl of cold water until you are ready to fry them. Before frying, drain the potatoes and blot them dry on paper towels. (This part is super important, because food laden with water, once it hits the hot oil, will cause the pot to bubble up very rapidly and you can easily get burned, and at the very least dirty up your kitchen a lot. I was pleasantly surprised with how little the dried potatoes bubbled up when added to the hot oil.)
2. To cook the potato chips, heat at least 2 inches of oil to 350 degrees F in a wide, heavy, straight-sided pot with deep sides and a clip-on frying thermometer, also called a candy thermometer. Be sure not to fill your pot with oil more than halfway, because the oil will foam up during frying.
3. Fry the potato chips in batches, stirring them around frequently with a slotted metal spoon to cook them evenly, until they are crisp and golden brown, about 1-2 minutes. Transfer the chips to a baking sheet lined with paper towels and sprinkle them with kosher salt to taste.
I have a couple of notes to make the process easier: First, you will go through a lot of paper towels to make this, so have them available as you work. I set up a large baking sheet with a cooling rack in it on the counter. I then set up another baking sheet with a cooling rack next to the pot on the stove, only this one I lined with paper towels, so it was ready to go when the potatoes came out of the hot fat. On the other side of the pot, I had a large plate that I lined with paper towel, and this is where I dried off the damp potato slices prior to cooking. The dried potatoes go into the oil, and then come out and are drained on the paper towels on the cooling rack and seasoned. After a minute or so, you can transfer them to the other baking sheet with the cooling rack so they stay crisp until you are ready to serve and eat them.
Tom Douglas also includes another note that I want to share: “The frying thermometer is the most important element for success in deep frying. Usually you want to deep-fry foods at about 350 degrees F, but the temperature of the oil will fluctuate. When you add a batch of food to the oil, it will lower the temperature, or the oil may get hotter the longer it is on the burner. Use your thermometer to check the temperature of the oil before you start frying and keep checking it throughout the frying process, adjusting the heat of your burner to keep the temperature consistent” (14). He goes on to add: “Frying is potentially dangerous. Work carefully and keep a box of salt or baking soda or a large lid on hand to smother a small fire. It’s always a good idea to have a working fire extinguisher nearby” (15).
These homemade chips taste amazing! You can season them with salt, or try out your favorite flavor combinations. This would be the perfect accompaniment to a lovely sandwich of sliced ham or turkey with lettuce, tomato and mayo, or a chicken or seafood salad sandwich filling. Some ripe grapes or apple slices would be just right for dessert. They would also be wonderful served with a creamy dip, like a ranch dip or your favorite sour-cream-based dip, and an ice-cold beer.
Have you ever made your own potato chips before? What’s your favorite flavor of potato chip? I’d love to hear from you in the comments, so stop by for a visit!
If you liked this post, you can subscribe to Minerva’s Garden via email or RSS, Like us on Facebook, and Follow us on Twitter, and connect with us on You Tube, Pinterest and Google +. You can also follow us on Linky!
Thank you so much for your friendship and support–I appreciate it!
Till next time,
I’m participating at:
It’s Party Time at Setting For Four
It’s Party Time at Cupcakes and Crinoline
It’s Party Time at Design Dreams by Anne
It’s Party Time at It’s So Very Cheri
It’s Party Time at Three Mango Seeds
Time Travel Thursday at Brambleberry Cottage
Potpourri Friday at 2805
Vintage Inspiration Friday at Common Ground
Sunday’s Best Party at My 1929 Charmer