Chips with a twist

We’ve all suffered. Horrible oven chips with that mouth clogging floury aftertaste. Soggy fried potato strips which slip down the throat as though they were greased, but leave no enduring pleasure. Overdone, underdone, wobbling free and all phases in between. The humble chip or French fry is a difficult dish to get right.

Aficionado’s of this often-abused comestible recommend the double or even triple fried potato fries using electronic means to regulate the cooking temperature. Often recommending complex methods requiring washing, patting dry and sprinkling in salt distilled from a virgin’s tears, waiting times and special oils, or a special deep oil fryer that needs a protracted and labour intensive cleaning out after every use. Everyone has their own pet method. Well let me add my own.

Now cooking the humble French fry should not be a complicated or prolonged procedure. Yet getting it right from a standing start to produce a firm but crunchy end product that is thoroughly cooked is often a right bloody mission.

My own method came to me as a happy accident when I was looking at a way of cooking a small batch of fries just for me when I was running out of cooking oil. It’s very simple and you will need the following:
A Russet or baking potato.
1 pint of any old cooking oil.
A pan you don’t mind using for frying.
A microwave oven.
Seasoning to taste.

Method:
Put oil in pan and heat to medium high on stove.
Put potato in microwave oven and cook on full power, depending upon size from 5-9 minutes, turning once.
Leave to cool enough for handling (usually 5-10 minutes) while oil in pan heats up.
Peel loosened skin off Russet potato and cut naked spud into desired shape and size. I cut mine into at least 3/8 inch (9mm) thick slices of potato and strips of a similar cross section so they are square.
This method works best of all for really chunky chips or potato wedges. Almost more roast potato than chip. Throw cut chunks into hot oil and scoop ’em out after ten minutes or so when a light golden brown. Drain oil off using paper kitchen towel or let drain for five minutes in a large sieve. Season if necessary and serve to adoring public. Accept naked adoration (If you’re really lucky) and any concomitant praise.

Works every time and there’s less mess to clear up than with conventional fries. Job done.

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4 thoughts on “Chips with a twist”

  1. I’ve been used to microwaving a baked potato to get a ‘head start’ before finishing it in the oven for the crispy skin, but it’s never occurred to me to try it for chips!

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    1. I’ve found microwaving a baking potato first results in shorter frying time and less oil saturation, so you get less fried and more spud with more consistent crunch. The chips don’t go soggy after ten minutes off the heat, either. There’s less re-absorption of moisture, which reduces the risk of sogginess.

      Unless of course you like your chips greasy. In which case, chacun a son gout. Vive la difference.

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