Sunday, August 28, 2011

Salt and Pepper Potato Chips

La Nina.  El Nino's bitchy cousin has caused some very strange and dangerous weather in this country this year.  It started on Feb 1 with a local 20" snow fall, (adult snow day!) record rainfall in July, golf ball size hail in July that wiped out half the garden, a horrific stretch of killer tornadoes in the South, record flooding along the mighty Mississippi, a series of training thunderstorms in northern IL/southern WI that caused damage, giant dust storm in Arizona, more intense than usual wildfires in CA, and now Hurricane Irene that stretches from the coast of North Carolina clear up though Maine to our quiet, friendly neighbors in the provinces. 

How does this relate to making your own potato chips?  It's one of those 'life is too short so you should do this while you can' type mantras.  This recipe also fits into the don't buy, DIY group.  There really isn't a better bag (or can) you could buy that top homemade potato chips. 

Unless you have exceptionally patient, superior knife skills, the only way to achieve such a thin cut is with a mandoline.  You should invest in one, or make homemade fries instead of potato chips. 

The opportune time to season these guys is fresh out of the oil, while still very hot and receptive to some sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper.  A pinch of garlic powder or cayenne is optional yet likely tasty. 

Salt and Pepper Potato Chips
two servings as side (to this burger)

1 large baking potato
~2. C oi-canola or vegetable
sea salt
freshly cracked black pepper
fresh parmigiano-reggiano, sprinkle of garlic powder, cayenne, dash of hot sauce, dried herbs optional

In a large vessel, preferably a cast-iron dutch oven, add enough oil to reach about 1".  Any more and you're wasting a resource and money.  Over medium heat, the frying temp should be 360-375F.  Thinly slice a washed and scrubbed potato.  Lay out in a single sheet and pat dry with paper towel, then add one at a time to the oil, in 2 or 3  batch increments- you don't want to crowd the raw potato slices, they shouldn't be all up on top of each other like a limo on prom night.  You will also need a bit of room to flip them after 100 seconds or so, ensuring they cook evenly, which will take a few minutes. 

Once golden brown, remove them with a spider or slotted spoon to a wire rack, either resting on a sheet pan or on paper towel, yesterdays paper, you get the idea.  Season immediately, eat very soon after that. 

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