One of my favorite ingredients to use is the potato. I’ll have them mashed, french fried, turned into potato chips. They’re just wonderfully versatile, and typically quick to prepare!
Now, I’ve come to realize that people are divided into two types of snackers. Those who crave sweet foods and those who crave salty foods. I fall squarely into the latter category, and will eat just about anything that’s been fried.
Recently I’ve started frying things on my own. For a family party last month I made onion rings, and had said that potato chips were next on my list. I was making some potatoes for my son for breakfast and realized that I’d cut too many potatoes in half, and set aside two of them to make chips with.
Heavy bottomed pot for frying
An appropriate oil for frying (vegetable, canola or peanut)
Idaho potatoes (the number is up to you)
To start off, fill a non-reactive bowl with cold water. Potatoes oxidize quickly, so if you don’t want them turning brown, have a decent sized bowl ready. (I’d put the left over potatoes in cold water and they kept all day) When you’ve finished washing and peeling each potato, put it right into the water.
Slicing. You can go one of two routes – use a knife, or invest in a mandoline! You can get pretty decent ones (just get one with a hand guard) for not much, and then you know you’ll have uniform slices and won’t have to worry about rolling potatoes. Just make sure that if you’re using a knife that you slice them as evenly as possible to ensure an even cook time- aim for about 1/8″. As you slice, put the slices back into the bowl of cold water.
Now, in your large heavy bottomed pan, get some oil heating up. You’re going to want to have at least 4-5″ of oil in the pan, so that the chips have enough room to flip as they fry. Using your handy dandy fry thermometer (not an expensive piece of equipment either), get the oil up to the 325-350 range. If you go too high, the chips will burn, and too low, they’ll just suck up oil and get soggy.
While it heats, set up your drain station. I used a cooling rack on a baking sheet with some newspaper underneath to help minimize mess.
Potato time! Take out a batch of potatoes – about 6-9 slices depending on how large the slices are. Pat them thoroughly dry in paper towels or a dish towel, and add all at once to the oil. Now, these do cook fairly quickly, but you can’t leave them unattended. Gently stir the potatoes with your spider/skimmer to keep the potatoes from sticking and to make sure they cook evenly. Keep going for about 3-4 minutes or until they’re golden brown.
Remove the chips from the oil and put on the sheet rack to drain. Once some of the oil has drained off, season them with whatever spice blend you like (I used just salt). And repeat until you’ve finished the batches.
Final thoughts: Making these in front of small children is not a good idea. Not because of the frying (my kids are well trained to stay away when I’m cooking on the stovetop), but because now my son knows that all I need are potatoes to make potato chips!