29 December 2010

Fry Guy

The Hubs did a fabulous job Christmas shopping this year.  There were several key pieces of kitchen equipment I lacked and he made sure I received each one.  One of the items I had been wanting for a while was a mandoline.  And not a cheap, wimpy one.  I wanted a good high-quality, yet affordable, mandoline.  I did my research, got the opportunity to test one during a cooking class this past summer and eventually settled on the Benriner Mandoline

The Hubs using my new toy.

About 5 months ago the Hubs and I first attempted to make homemade potato chips.  It was a great learning experience, but the end result was less than stellar.  This was due mainly to the fact that the potato slices were way too inconsistent in their thickness, not to mention way too thick overall. 

See what I mean?  Pretty pathetic and uneven.
As soon as I opened the new mandoline on Christmas Eve, when the two of us have our private gift exchange without our families around, one of the first things out of my mouth was, "We have to try making potato chips again!". 

So try again we did.  This time we were much more successful. 

Quick run-down of the process:

1. Use the mandoline to thinly, and evenly, slice 4 medium sized Russet potatoes. 

Look at  how thin this slice is!
2. Completely submerge the potato slices in water and let them soak for an hour.  This helps them to release some of the unnecessary starches that can make the chips gummy. 

3. After an hour, rinse and drain the slices then lay them out in a single layer to dry.  You just don't want them really wet or it makes a mess in the oil. 

4. While the potatoes are drying off, heat ~2 qts of vegetable (or peanut) oil in a dutch oven until it reaches 300F.  A candy thermometer is really helpful here. 

5. Working in small batches, fry the dry potato slices until they are a light golden brown.  You will know the potato chips are ready when they stop "screaming"... that's how the Hubs describes it.  And you know what?  He's right. 

6. Remove the chips with a spider or slotted spoon to a  paper towel lined bowl.  Sprinkle them with desired seasoning(s) and toss them until they are evenly coated.  Allow them to then cool on a brown paper bag. 

Serve right away. 

I'm not a big fried foods person, but these chips are out of this world.  Seriously, you can't eat just one. 

My only suggestion would be to try to get someone to help you with these.  It is much easier if you have two people working.  The Hubs and I have a pretty good system going now... he mans the fry station and I season, toss and drain.  Basically he does all of the critical decision making and I just sprinkle some salt.  I like this set-up. 

As we sat and ate the finished product we also did a little deconstruction.  We decided the thickness and crispiness were perfect, but our seasonings were a little off.  Next step: develop a special House Seasoning blend.

No comments: