Somethings are so simple and yet we don’t often take time to make them. Potato Chips are one of those things. Sunday morning I decided to do BLT sandwiches for brunch. I thought about making hash browns or fried potatoes as a side and then suddenly a light bulb came on , Potato Chips! Having just moved, I had already unpacked the necessary tools. I had the big pot of peanut oil, the mandoline and some potatoes. I had some of what I call “Devany Seasoning.” It is an all purpose flavor enhancer with smoked salt, smoked paprika, pepper, a bit of sugar and whatever spices I am cleaning out when I make it. This is so simple, I can hardly call it a recipe, it is much more of a method. There are just a few hints as to how to do this. First I put the bacon in the oven so it would be ready for the sandwiches when the chips were finished frying.
As in all cooking, get everything out that you will need, Mise en place is the culinary term for having every thing ready and in place before you start preparing a meal. It is probably the single most important thing you can do when preparing a dish. We can probably thank Escoffier for this, as he was famous for running an efficient kitchen. Once everything is set in place, start cooking.
Russet Potatoes, washed well. I leave the skins on. You will be cutting these paper thin, you may as well skip the peeling and go for the nutrition that is in the skin. You can also do this with other root vegetables such as sweet potatoes, taro and even carrots.
Peanut or Canola oil in a large deep pot or fryer. Peanut oil has a high burning point and is great for frying. You can find it for a really good price in stores that sell turkey fryers.
Seasoning. You can use sea salt, BBQ seasoning or other flavors. Next time I am using truffle salt.
You will need a mandoline to cut the chips into very thin slices. It can be done with a knife, but it is doubtful that you will be able to consistently cut uniform paper thin slices. If you do not already own a mandoline, there are many inexpensive models available.
If you do not own a deep fryer, you will need a large deep pot. This prevents splattering.
You will also need a rack to drain the chips on. I use a steam table pan and rack, but you can use a sheet pan with a cookie rack. If you do not have a rack, you can use paper towels, but do change them out as they get drenched with oil.
A fat thermometer is quite helpful. This looks like other instant read thermometers, but it has a very long probe and can be attached to the side of the pan. This is a tool that is helpful for making jams, candy & cheese. I use mine a lot. You need to maintain a consistent heat of 350 degrees. If you do not have one of these, you can eyeball it, but you will have much better success if you use a thermometer.
A spider to remove the chips from the oil.
Pre-heat the oil to 350 and then turn the heat down slightly to maintain that temperature.
Using the mandoline on the thinnest setting possible, evenly slice the potatoes, one at a time. One potato will take 4-5 frying sessions. You do not want to crowd them.
In batches, gently drop the slices , one at a time into the oil. Turn them using the spider and separate any that are touching each other. Note, these cook very fast, you must give them your full attention while frying.
Place the chips on the draining rack and IMMEDIATELY season. Doing the seasoning immediately will make it adhere better.
Once the chips have cooled slightly they can be placed in a bowl. If you are making them ahead of use, wait till all are completely cool and then place them in an airtight container. They never last very long at our house, but they do keep well for several days if you need to do them in advance.