For the most part, we try to follow one of the rules that Michael Pollan promulgates: eat only the food you make at home. The example he points out is French fries. Everyone loves them, but, in reality, we eat way, way, too many of them. Whereas, if we had to make them ourselves, cutting the potatoes, heating the oil in a deep fryer, deep frying, draining, cleaning up afterward, all for a serving of fries, we’d make and eat them about once a year. Which is about how often you should have French fries.
Do we follow that rule 24/7? Ha! Not even close. Perhaps 24/5 is more like it. After all, we like French fries, too. But we did follow the rule for today’s post of baked potato chips. Now, we got this idea, and some of the techniques from The Homemade Pantry, by Alana Chernila, but with a recipe this easy, that’s about all there is.
Makes 2 servings.
You can peel the potatoes if you want; we’d certainly recommend it for non-organic potatoes, as a lot of pesticides are used, and, if it remains, it’s mainly in the peels. Actually, any oil will work here; we use olive oil, mainly because it’s our go-to oil. And the sea salt. Sure, you can use other salts; just use something that’s finely ground.
Procedure in detail.
Preheat oven to 450°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone baking mats.
Slice potatoes. This is key to the whole operation. Slice the potatoes very thin, less than a 1/16 of an inch. And even; try to make the potato slices the same thickness from side to side, and from slice to slice. This is the perfect time to use a mandoline, if you have one. Having the potato slices the same thickness will make them all brown at a similar rate, so all the chips are done at the same time. Did we achieve that goal? No. The chips were good, anyway.
Soak in water. Place all the slices in a bowl of warm water — just lukewarm — and give them a swish from time to time. Leave them soaking for about 10 minutes. This soaking will leach out some of the starches and makes for a crisper chip.
Drain and dry. Drain off the water, and, if you’re so inclined, give the potatoes a rinse. Place them on a clean kitchen towel and pat dry. Dry out the bowl, too.
Toss with oil. Put the chips back in the bowl, add the oil, and toss until they’re all coated. Just use your hands; it’s far easier than trying to do this with a spoon or other utensil. Plus, you can tell when the slices are all coated.
Spread and salt. Spread the chips across the prepared baking sheets, trying to make a single layer without the chips touching. Overlapping chips will not bake up as well, remaining slightly soggy. Sprinkle with a bit of salt.
Bake. Slide into the oven and bake for about 20 minutes. Watch carefully, as the amount of time will vary with the thickness of the chips. If you’re feeling up for it, turn the chips over about halfway through baking to help them crisp.
We ate these chips directly from the pans; we couldn’t be bothered transferring them to a plate. They’re really best while they’re still hot, anyway. Yes, some were a bit soggy, but even those tasted good. Most of these turn out browner than chips you get from a bag, but, as long as they haven’t burned, we’re sure you’ll finish them off in no more than five minutes. Plus, the ease of making baked potato chips, and cleaning up afterwards, is far, far less than if we tried to deep fry them. And, for us scratchers, it’s a fair trade-off. Four stars.