Every week, a DIY expert spares us a trip to the grocery store and shows us how to make small batches of great foods at home.
Today, Lara Ferroni shows us two methods for making addictive, crisp potato chips in small batches at home. Lara is the author of Doughnuts: Simple and Delicious Recipes to Make at Home, and the forthcoming book, Real Snacks: Make Your Favorite Childhood Treats Without All the Junk.
It wasn’t until I was working on Real Snacks, a cookbook about making my favorite junk food at home, that it occurred to me that I could make my own potato chips. Of course, no junk food cookbook could be compete without them, but my first few attempts were pretty sad -- dark brown on the edges and still soggy in the middle. Luckily, perseverance won out, and now I wonder how I ever thought they were hard.
The key to the perfectly crispy chip is the mandoline. You need to get the potatoes really, really thin, so unless you have the knife skills of a ninja, a mandoline is the way to go. You don’t need a fancy one -- a simple $20 slicer works perfectly. Just make sure you get one with a guard, and don’t worry that you can’t use that last little chunk at the end of each potato. Just set it aside for soup, and save your fingertips!
I like russet potatoes best for frying, but this method also works well with sweet potatoes, yams and lotus root. If frying isn’t your thing, you’ll love the microwavable version of this recipe, which makes a small batch of super crisp chips in about 2 minutes.
These chips are great with a sprinkle of sea salt, but even better with the homemade “Baked Potato” seasoning mix, which makes them taste like Tato Skins.
Homemade Potato Chips
Makes 1 large bowl of chips
3 medium russet potatoes
About 1 liter safflower oil for frying
Sea salt or Baked Potato Chip seasoning, to taste
Slice the potatoes into very, very thin rounds using a porcelain slicer or mandoline (always use the guard!). I use the 1.3mm setting. Place the slices in a large bowl. Cover with cold water, swish and then drain.
Place the slices in a single layer on a towel, and then roll it up to lightly dry them. Keep the slices rolled up in the towel as you cook off batches to keep them from oxidizing and turning brown.
To fry the chips, heat a pot of safflower or canola oil to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C), and fry the dried potato slices in small batches. Be careful not to over fill the pot, or your chips will stick together and have soggy spots. Fry for just a minute or two, flipping once, until they are a light golden brown and the oil bubbling calms. If there is still frantic bubbling going on, there is still moisture in the chips, and they will be soggy. Remove the chips with a slotted spoon, and place on a wire rack to drain.
To microwave your chips instead, spray the potato slices with an oil baking spray and place in a single layer on a microwave safe plate (sprayed with a bit more baking spray). Cook on full power for 1 to 2 minutes. You’ll likely need to do this in many small batches. Be careful when you remove the plate because it will be very hot.
Toss your crisp chips into a large bowl and sprinkle with salt or your seasoning, swirling and flipping to coat.
Baked Potato Chip Seasoning
To make the seasoning, simply place all the ingredients together in a small bowl and mix to combine.
¼ cup powdered buttermilk
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ teasoon dried mustard (such as Coleman’s)
1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
Freshly grated black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon finely chopped bacon (optional)
Lara will be answering questions about potato chips on the Hotline for those of you who want to take on this project at home. For the quickest response, go to her recipe and ask a question from there -- we'll email her your question right away!
Stock up on some good hazelnuts for next week's Small Batch, in which Tara O'Brady will show us how to make a small batch of chocolate hazelnut spread at home!