For extra-special occasions, take the time to fry up a batch of potato chips. (For a rainbow of chips, make the carrot, parsnip, and beet variations too.) Here are a couple tips for chips: First, be sure to use starchy brown-skinned potatoes, the bigger and older the better. Second, do not try to cut the chips by hand—a mandoline or a similar slicer is imperative. And, finally, don’t salt the chips until just before serving, as the salt could wilt them.
- 1 ½ pounds large baking (russet) potatoes, peeled
- Vegetable oil for deep-frying
- Salt to taste
1. Using a mandoline or plastic vegetable slicer, cut the potatoes into paper-thin rounds, less than 1/16 inch thick. As they are cut, place in a bowl of cold water. Let stand while you heat the oil.
2. Place a wire cake rack on a jelly-roll pan. Line a roasting pan with crumpled paper towels. Pour enough oil into a deep Dutch oven to come about 3 inches up the sides. Heat the oil over high heat until a deep-frying thermometer reads 350°F.
3. Drain the potatoes well. Line a work surface with paper towels and spread one layer of potatoes on it. Cover with paper towels and continue layering, separating each layer of potatoes with more paper towels. Pat the potatoes completely dry.
4. In batches, without crowding, deep-fry the potatoes, stirring often with a wire-mesh skimmer to separate the chips, until they are golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Using the skimmer, transfer the chips to the wire rack to drain briefly, then move them to the crumpled paper towels to remove excess oil. Separate each layer of fried chips with more paper towels.
5. As soon as all the chips have been fried and drained, serve or transfer to a large roasting pan to store. The potato chips will crisp as they cool. Store uncovered, and serve within 6 hours.
6. Just before serving, sprinkle with salt.
Carrot Or Parsnip Chips Using a mandoline or plastic vegetable slicer, cut carrots or parsnips lengthwise into strips less than 1/16 inch thick. Soak, drain, dry, and deep-fry as for potato chips.
Beet Chips Rub your hands lightly with vegetable oil to keep the juice from staining your skin. Peel the beets. Using the mandoline or plastic vegetable slicer, cut crosswise into rounds less than 1/16 inch thick. Soak, drain, dry, and deep-fry as for potato chips. (If deep-frying a variety of chips, fry the beets last, as their juice can color the oil.)
This recipe serves 6 and includes 1/2 teaspoon of added salt.