Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Crispy goodness

{Empty space where there WOULD have been a picture if certain people (*cough-husband-cough*) hadn't eaten the ENTIRE remaining portion before I could get the camera}

The kids were loafing around today in states of advanced lethargy telling me how great Grandma's place was, because Resort et Spa d'Grandmere has potato chips. How come we don't have potato chips? Would it kill you, mother dearest, to buy us potato chips once in a danged while…?

Now, I don't buy potato chips for two reasons. One, they are expensive – look at the cost per pound sometime, it'll give you heebie-jeebies. And two, they are a nutritional black hole. Some are comparatively healthier than others, but let's face it: They're just not the best snack out there.

Now, I can make potato chips, sure. Heat up the fat, do the whole slice/soak/dry/fry/cool/fry/salt thing. But that's a lot of bother and mess and furthermore frying in oil, TWICE really doesn't make me feel all that good about what is slithering down our throats.

Oven-baked crisps, on the other hand, can provide a similar satisfying salty crunch, with a lot less oil and prep work. Just because they're made from scratch out of real potatoes with "less" oil and salt doesn't automatically make these a delicious and healthy snack fit to be eaten night and day…but they are definitely cheaper and making them just one or two potatoes at a time for immediate consumption helps cut down the idle snacking that is so deadly to our best of dietary intentions.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees, and lightly oil one or two baking sheets, depending on how many potato slices you're about to bake up.

Take one or two potatoes, depending on the size of your crowd and your ovens. (I used two fairly good sized ones, because all six of us were home complaining about the lack of salty goodness.) Scrub them well, but don't peel them. Slice them to about 1/8" thickness – thicker than most potato chips, but thin enough that you can see the light through them. A food processor makes this go incredibly fast.

Toss them in a bowl with just enough olive oil to lightly coat them. Add seasoning if you like – salt is the usual, but you can also add onion or garlic powder, any variety of your favorite dried herbs, Parmesan cheese, pepper…the list goes on. I just did salt today because my children are horrible picky eaters who recoil in horror from anything that is interesting unexpected.

Deal out the potato slices onto your pan. Now, if you want crispy-crisps, make sure they are each an island unto themselves (no snuggling or overlapping going on); if you want a combination of crispy and chewy, overlap them slightly.

Into the oven for between 15 and 20 minutes. By the way, there may be a lot of moisture coming out of the oven, as though you were steaming something in there – don't be alarmed. That's normal. (Can you tell I was alarmed the first time?)

When they are your desired level of browned and crispy, take them out of the oven and let them cool slightly in the pan – that way they won't just roll up and get silly on you when you're trying to get the spatula under them. They're best when they're still warm, so you'll want them hitting the plates within a couple minutes of coming out of the oven.

And don't leave them unguarded if you think you're going to take a picture of them. Sigh


Kaviare said...

We used to do this when we had a barbequeue - just slice, salt and grease if you prefer (but if it's on the grill with meat it's not really necessary) then whack them on the hotplate. They were my favourite bit of every summer - some crispy crunchy black, some beautiful and smooth like only potato can be.

I assume you could do that on a frying pan, if you wanted. Although the oven or grill makes more sense...

knitinsage said...


i do something similar with sweet potatoes, only shaped in 1/2" sticks, and boy are they good roasted right out of the oven. olive oil, fresh ground pepper, sea salt, maybe a sprinkle of ground ginger, 20 min@~450° -- WOW!

they are better eaten right away -- they get a bit mushy and "totally yucky" once they cool off.