Anyone reading this right now must be thinking that I have either become bone idle, or am totally exhausted in the ideas camp. I mean. Really, ‘chips’? Surely these typically arrive on plate from two sources – the local chippy, or from some bag of processed delights which live in the freezer. I have spent over 5 weeks away from home due to work, and have not exactly been spending any time in the kitchen. I am so happy to be back! I am sure that both inspiration and time will return to focus on what I love best.
Whilst this may be constituted as rambling, I am quite the fan of a good ‘chip’ – and not (sorry Yorkshire here) some greasy matter eaten from paper or a polystyrene tray, which is then drowned (according to taste) in malt vinegar, or worse, gravy and potentially a side of marrow fat mushy peas. THAT is my food hell, with my last experience a year ago in a sit in Fish & Chip shop in Scarborough (eating out of polystyrene container with disposable cutlery was not my thing – I did fortunately manage to avoid all the optional soggy extras though). In contrast, a really good chip can be so good- it would gladly accompany the steak I would serve at my death row meal should that ever arise… Admittedly, French fry format (and not the ‘freedom’ version) works a little better with a steak in my view – but what I propose for something made at home, and without the use of a deep fat fryer is not a bad compromise at all.
Sure, taking some frozen offering out of the freezer and shoving them on baking tray may be quicker (have you not noticed that it always takes longer than claimed) is minimal effort, but have you though of making your own, and without a deep fat fryer? Whilst I am one of the first to drool over the latest kitchen gadgets and toys, I have never ventured into the world of devices which take up a lot of space, and would get minimal use. Storage, is always at a premium. In my alternative universe where I had no space or budget constraints, I’d have everything going – slow cooker, rice steamer, sous-vide, blender, juicer, deep-fat fryer, proving drawer, outdoor wood-fired pizza oven – you name it.. right now, it is not happening. Until the day happens that I get snapped up by a wealthy partner who given me a free reign on the purse strings, or win the lottery – it just isn’t happening.
Right, enough preamble – these are not going to be as ‘crisp’ as your favourite bisto pub- you know the ones which can hold their heat for eternity – so much so could become repurposed as a heat source in winter – but much better (in my opinion) of the freezer section alternatives. Incidentally, I have been trying various iterations of this recipe, and keep meaning to post this recipe on LTK, and forget to take a photo! I redeemed myself on Sunday when I cooked a simple (but tasty) blue steak, my chunky chips with herbs and balsamic vinegar, and lightly steamed Kale. Nothing fancy (if I had ingredients at hand I would certainly make again my Peppercorn, Mushroom, and Brandy Sauce), but coupled wish a good dollop of Dijon mustard, one of my favourite things.
So, what makes this a little different? First, they are twice cooked. I steam them first for 10 minutes – just enough to soften the centre and create a fluffier texture, then cook in the oven with minimal oil (yes, I am trying to claim that my chips are super healthy – but in reality, this may be an oxymoron). Then, season with a splash of Balsamic vinegar, herbes de Provence, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper – shove in the oven, and you are really onto a winner.
- 4 Medium baking potatoes (2 per person)
- 1-2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp Balsamic vinegar
- Freshly ground black pepper
- sea salt
- herbes de Provence
- Using a sharp knife, square off the ends and sides of each potato, then quarter vertically into large chunky chips.
- Bring a tiered steamer to the boil, place chips into the steaming basket, cover, and steam for approximately 10 mins. The purpose is to soften the potatoes, so that they are fluffier in the centre.
- Pre-heat fan assisted oven to 200 - 220c, and a place a baking tray (covered with thick aluminum foil and lightly greased with olive oil) at the top of the oven.
- Remove potato chips from steamer, and place on a sheet of kitchen paper, and cover with a second sheet. Absorb as much of the moisture and starch as possible.
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, add the chips, the drizzle over the oil, balsamic vinegar, and season well with freshly ground black pepper, salt, and herbes de Provence.
- Transfer onto the baking tray, and space evenly. Roast for about 20 mins, turn over carefully using tongs, and continue to roast for 15-20 minutes, or until brown and crisp.