"You can eat as much junk food as you like, as long as you cook it yourself."
It is with a nod to Michael Pollan that I share these tips for homemade potato chips.
Mmm...ever had them? One of my favorite restaurants serves them with truffle oil, but let me assure you that you do not need truffle oil to enjoy these little bites of heaven.
Eww...ever made them? Soggy, oily and burnt? Well, not today! This is an area of cooking where a bit of knowledge is power. Three bits actually:
Tip one: Russets only. No Yukons, no red skins, no sweets. You need lots of starch, and Russets have it!
Tip two: Slice your Russets on a mandolin (or Bohrer V-slicer, see my "cool tools" post here) to no more than 1/8" thick, preferably thinner.
Tip three: Soak your sliced Russets in ice water for at least 30 minutes, discard the water, rinse and dry well (a salad spinner helps quite a bit with this).
Deep fry to a lovely golden brown, remove to a rack or paper towels, salt, and enjoy. AS MUCH AS YOU WANT! Because you made every one of those chips yourself! Recipe is here.
But you do not need a deep fryer to enjoy homemade potato chips. A wok is perfect, a cast iron skillet works well as long as you don't fill it more than 1/2 way (bonus points - you're improving the seasoning!), and a saucepan - preferably heavy - is good too.
You need 2-3" of oil, preferably something that comes in a Wesson-like plastic bottle. Vegetable, peanut, canola are all good. Olive oil breaks down at high heat, so don't waste it deep frying.
You want to get the oil as close to 350 as possible, and while a candy thermometer will measure this for you, if you don't have one, you need to depend on another tool that nearly everyone has: your good common sense. While the oil is heating, put in a small chip. As the oil heats, it will start to bubble, crisp and brown, and when it turns golden brown, take it out - it's done, and you are ready to fry his little potato friends. If the oil starts smoking or your chips begin to burn in less than 90 seconds, turn the heat down; your oil is too hot.
See? No fancy tools needed, just (as I tell my kids) use the brain God gave you.
And enjoy those chips!!