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Potato chips are something (almost) everyone can agree on. They're inherently vegan, gluten-free, and can be seasoned to suit your mood.
Sometimes, though, when I open a bag of chips, I can't help but wonder. Were these fried in hydrogenated oil? Why do these plain potato chips have milk powder on them? I think we can do better!
My personal favorite chip flavor is the simple combination of salt and pepper. These complimentary spices make pretty much every food on earth taste better and potato chips are no exception. Today I am firing up the oven to pay homage to the humble potato chip.
2-3 red potatoes (russets, yukon gold or your favorite baker will do as well, but avoid sweet potato*)
Black Pepper, freshly-ground if possible
*I know what you're thinking. The moment I said don't get sweet potatoes, all you could THINK about was making sweet potato chips. Sweet potatoes have to be treated a bit differently, so they deserve their own post one day.
Fire your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
1. Wash and slice your potatoes. A mandoline is ideal for this task, but a sharp knife will work as well. You want uniform slices that are about 1/8" thick. If your slices are too thin, you will end up with potato ash, so don't be afraid of a thicker chip (think kettle chips rather than Lay's Original).
2. Lay your potato slices out to dry on a layer of paper towels or tea towels. This will help draw moisture from the potato, yielding a crispier, crunchier chip. Below you can see that I have covered my slices with an additional layer of paper towel to help my slices dry.
3. When your oven has reached target temperature, push your fire to the side and wait until you have a pile of embers rather than a large flame. Here is a picture of my fire right before I put in my potatoes.
4. Toss your potato slices in olive oil. You will need enough oil to coat each chip lightly. Spread the slices in a single layer on a sheet pan and into the oven they go. You will cook the chips with the door open. You need to watch them carefully. If your slices are the correct thickness, the chips will need to cook about 5 minutes per side, but I flipped the chips every minute or 2 to ensure they didn't burn.
5. Once your potato slices become rigid, they are ready to come out of the fire. Before they cool, sprinkle them liberally with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Once they cool, you can stuff them in your cheeks like a squirrel getting ready for winter. Don't forget to look around suspiciously at other squirrels who might be trying to steal your chips. You will never get my chips, squirrels.