Basket of Potato Chips
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Potato Chips
North America

Makes
Effort:
Sched:
DoAhead:  
8 ounces  
**
1 hr  
Yes
Legend has it Potato Chips (Crisps in GB) were invented by master chef George Crum, in Saratoga New York (see History). This recipe eliminates most of the difficulties with home made potato chips (see Method).


2
2
2
ar
tt
#
qt
T

Potatoes (1)  
Water
Vinegar
Oil (2)
Salt
Make   -   (1 hr - 20 min work)
  1. Peel POTATOES and cut into very thin slices using a Mandolin or similar slicer. They should be very even in thickness. Place in a pot with 2 qt Water, then stir in 2 T Vinegar. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 5 minutes. Drain well, and set out on paper towels to dry for 20 minutes or more. Shuffle them a few times to eliminate water between the chips. You will notice the chips are quite firm after this step.
  2. In a Kadhai, Wok or other suitable deep fry container, bring Oil up to 400°F/200°C. Fry Potatoes in batches that are not crowded in the oil, regulating the heat so the oil doesn't rise higher than about 360°F/180°C. When they are a light blond color, fish them out with a Spider, which will take much less oil with them than other devices. Salt to taste immediately, and let drain on paper towels.
Clean-up
  1. When all done, filter your oil through paper towels and store in a glass jar or metal can away from heat and light so it is good for several more batches, or you can use it for other frying jobs, including pan frying.
NOTES:
  1. Potatoes:   Use Russets (Baking Potatoes) for Potato Chips. Others will make decent chips, but, why not use the best when it's cheaper? For details see our Potatoes page.
  2. Oil:   You need a very durable high temperature Oil, and enough of it so the batches of whatever size you wish to fry are not crowded and don't cool the oil too much. You will need more than for French Fries, and will lose more in draining. About 1-1/2 quart should be sufficient for 2 pounds of raw slices done in three batches. I use Olive Pomace Oil which gives good mouth feel (15% saturated fats) but with very little rancidity prone polyunsaturated oils. Avocado oil would do even better (20% saturated) with as little polyunsaturated as Olive Pomace, but is more expensive. For details see our Oils Chart.
  3. Method:   I well remember my first experience, many years ago, with making potato chips at home, and it was awful. The frying was tedious, the chips were too dark, and the stove was awash in oil. I made no more for many years. This method is a dream in comparison. It is based on our successful French Fries recipe, but skips the first frying - there just isn't any inside to make fluffy in a potato chip. Frying time is relatively short, producing fully crisp chips with a nice light color (they could be even lighter than in the photo), and no splattering oil! Of course, using an Indian Kadhai and Spider instead of the French style basket fryer I had used before helped with the splattering (a wok would also work well), but it was would still have been way less. The secret is in the initial par boil with vinegar.
  4. History:   Legend has it that, in 1853, master chef George Crum, in Saratoga New York, was furious that a customer had sent back his French Fries as "too thick". He grabbed a potato and sliced it as thin as he could, and being an expert chef, he could slice plenty thin. He fried them lightly browned and sent them out. The customer loved them. Later versions of the story claim the customer was Cornelius Vanderbilt, but that's unlikely. They were known as "Saratoga Chips" until well after World War I, and manufacturers produced "Saratoga Slicers" for those without Mr. Crum's knife skills. In England, the "Crisp" is credited to William Kitchiner, but his slices were French Fry thick, and his alternate method produced a very different shape, of unknown (and difficult to control) thickness. Laura Scudder, in Monterey Park, California, invented the packaging that made potato chips a popular snack item.
  5. U.S. measure: t=teaspoon, T=Tablespoon, c=cup, qt=quart, oz=ounce, #=pound, cl=clove in=inch, ar=as required tt=to taste
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