Ban the Bag: Make Your Own Chips

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One of our favorite  dishes in our house are homemade potato chips.  Thicker and heartier than your standard store-bought chips, they’re more of a side than a snack food, and I frequently make them to pair with other veggie-based meals.

Wait.  I know what you’re thinking: making your own chips?  That’s got to be more time-consuming than it is worth.  In reality, it’s quite simple and the results are well worth the time spent.  If you own a mandoline (I do not), it’s even easier.  You can control the fat and sodium content,  and, best of all, you can use whatever flavors go with what you’re cooking that day–it’s a very forgiving recipe (if you can even call it that).  Just slice, season, and bake.

I usually use a variety of new potatoes, because they’re good for roasting and I use them in other recipes, although some homemade chip experts swear by Yukon Golds.  I also use purple potatoes when they’re available, because I love the color and they have slightly better nutritional content than your standard white or red potato.  I say use what you’ve got on hand.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Begin prep by slicing your potatoes approximately 1/8″.  Two or three new potatoes is enough per person.  If you have a mandoline, by all means, use that baby, but I’ve survived thus far with just my chef’s knife.  Pat the potato slices dry with a kitchen towel.  This will help them crisp up during baking.  Now it’s time to season, and this is the fun part where you get to be creative.  I usually make garlic-parmesean chips, so that’s the process I’ll describe here.

My trick is using a flavored olive oil, which I easily make myself in the kitchen.  I use it in such small quantities, and buy plain olive oil in bulk from the Italian market, so I don’t bother buying store-bought flavored oils.  The standby in my kitchen is garlic olive oil, which I make by whacking a peeled clove of garlic with the broad side of my knife and microwaving it in the oil I’m going to use for about 30 seconds.  You can either toss the sliced potatoes with the oil (a few tablespoons) or, if you want to control the fat content, pour the oil in a clean spray bottle.  Any variety of plain, clean spray bottle will work–you don’t need a fancy atomizer from a kitchen shop.  Using the spray bottle allows you to lightly mist the potatoes evenly while minimizing oil used.  Salt and pepper the slices, give them another good toss, and pop them on a baking sheet and into the oven until they are golden brown, probably about 30 minutes.  When they just start to get all brown and roasted, take them out and grate some fresh parmigiano-reggiano over them, and let them bake for five more minutes.

I almost always make this flavor combination, but you could do whatever you want by adjusting the oil and spices.  Some ideas:

* Greek-style–use regular or garlic olive oil, dried oregano, and sprinkle with feta if you desire.

* Smoky Jalapeno–use pepper-infused oil, cumin, cayenne, salt & pepper.

* Lemon-rosemary–use lemon-zest infused oil, chopped fresh rosemary, salt & pepper.

Is anyone else a fan of homemade chips? What’s your favorite flavor combination?

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