Crispy salt and vinegar potato chips will make you question why you buy chips in the first place.
For the longest time, I’ve had “make my own potato chips” on my bucket list. Something I did a long, long time ago when taking foods class in middle school. So long ago that I’m pretending I never did. The problem is you have to cut the potatoes super thin to crisp up; otherwise they become French fries (French chips?). Unless you have superior knife skills, you need a mandoline to slice them paper thin. Today I teamed up with OXO to review their handheld mandoline (found online here) and can finally cross homemade salt and vinegar chips off of my list. And if you’re really good, one of you can win one as well.
The key to making chips is having super thin slices. So thin that you can practically see through them. Too thick and the middle becomes cooked, not crisped. The OXO mandoline has three settings. I would tell you those settings, but the sizes aren’t labeled anywhere. I’m guessing 1/8 inch thick, 1/4 inch thick, and 1/2 inch thick. They are labeled as 1, 2, and 3. I started out on setting 3 but realized my slices were a tad thick for chips, so then I switched to setting 2 then to setting 1. Much better. If you’re making a dish such as scalloped potatoes or au gratin, then you’ll want to use setting 2 or 3 for uniformed yet slightly thicker slices.
To use the mandoline, place it over any bowl and use the gripper to hold the item you are slicing. This is very important because the blade is sharp. However, some long and skinny vegetables such as carrots or parsnips don’t grip very well. When I sliced some carrots for a soup, I couldn’t use the gripper until I got closer to the blade. Fatter produce such as potatoes and apples gripped just fine. Because the blade is so sharp, OXO installed two safety devices. The first is locking the blade in place. Make sure you do this before washing. Second is the gripper slides onto the mandoline and covers the blade for storage. This is very critical if you have a junk drawer of tools (me!) and that you don’t accidentally cut yourself when reaching for something else.
Now for the best part – the chips! I chose salt and vinegar chips because that’s one of my favorite flavors. Not only do I love the taste, it helps calm my stomach when I feel nauseous from motion sickness. Typically when you make chips, you soak the slices in water. For these chips, you soak them in vinegar instead. I’ve experimented with 30 minutes, 1 hour, and 2 hours. I highly recommend 2 hours for maximum flavor; however, if you are in a hurry, soak at least 1 hour. 30 minutes only gives some hint of vinegar.
I also made these chips two ways – fried and baked. I’m going to include directions for both methods, but I think I’m going to stick with baking. The result of both methods produces crispy chips, so why add extra calories? However, frying cooks them much faster. If you have the time, bake them. If not, fry them. In addition to potato chips, I also made apple chips the same way. The possibilities are endless – carrot chips, sweet potato chips, even beet chips.
The fryer I used (Amazon affiliate link):
- 1 russet potato (peeling optional)
- 3/4 cup vinegar
- Frying oil (such as vegetable or peanut), enough to fill a fryer or to brush slices before baking
- With a mandoline (or awesome knife skills), thinly slice the potato to where you can almost see through them.*
- Soak in vinegar for 2 hours. Drain and pat completely dry.
- Fill a fryer (or a really deep saucepan) with frying oil of choice and heat to 350F. Place a cooling rack on top of a cookie sheet.
- When the oil is ready, ensure the potato slices are completely dry. Fry a few at a time until golden brown, being careful not to overcrowd the fryer. Time will vary depending on the size and thickness of the slices, but the average is 3-5 minutes.
- Remove the chips and place on the cooling rack. Immediately sprinkle with salt. Let cool for a few minutes to allow them to crisp.**
- Repeat with the remaining slices, ensuring the oil is 350F when frying. You may need to pause in between batches to let the oil heat up again.
- Preheat oven to 400F. Line two baking sheets with foil and lightly grease with cooking spray.
- Place the slices in a single layer on the two sheets. Brush each slice with oil then sprinkle salt on top.
- Bake for 15 minutes. If they aren’t golden brown and crisp, bake them in 5 minute increments until done (they burn easily).
**The chips won’t be crispy immediately out of the fryer. After a few minutes, they will crisp up.
Are you excited to make some chips? OXO has graciously agreed to give one lucky reader a handheld mandoline. To enter, follow the directions in the Raffle Copter. Giveaway ends Monday September 30, 2013 at 11:59 PM. US residents only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclosure: OXO provided me with one handheld mandoline to review and one to give away. All thoughts and photographs are mine.