"Crisps need to be able to stand alone." Henrietta Clancy - The Guardian
I think I've made these before but I'm going to have another go for my nibble board for tomorrow's family reunion celebration.
Mine won't be standing alone though. There will be the tapénade, and another dip or two, some goat's cheese, salami, pistachios ... But I just thought the crisps or chips as they call them here would be a nice textural contrast. And they're not very difficult to do are they?
Well I have refreshed my memory and I'm not really sure now. But I'll still have a go.
To this end I bought a small sweet potato this morning, but really couldn't come at the huge (to me) price of any of the other root vegetables. Well there are always carrots and potatoes and I will do them too, but this time I'm going to try kale as well with some of the last leaves from the garden. Maybe I should go and find some dandelion leaves - a couple of websites were recommending them.
I will be virtuous and not fry them but I'm a tiny bit confused about time and temperature as far as the oven goes. I saw some say 2 hours and some 10 minutes and the temperature variation didn't seem to match the times. The temperature variations were from 95ºC to 160ºC. So go figure. I'll probably choose something in the middle as far as the temperature is concerned - 130ºC say, and just keep checking the oven. And one writer said to leave them in the oven for another 10 minutes or so after you turn it off.
The general opinion also seems to be that you should soak the root vegetables to remove starch but then make sure they are dry before you cook them. Well that's going to take time. It's all very well them saying things like salad spinners, tea towels and patting dry with paper towels, but experience tells me that you not only need to do one of those things but you also need to leave them to dry for ages to be sure they are dry.
But it will give me a chance to get out my mandoline which has been used maybe once in its life. Just hope I don't peel my hands too. And talking of peel you can dry the peel too to make chips. Maybe I'll do that with the sweet potato and carrot and just leave the peel on the potatoes.
Having dried them you toss them in oil and spread out on trays on baking paper. Opinion seems to differ as to whether you flavour them at the same time or afterwards and what you flavour them with anyway. Well salt obviously. Maybe some paprika and/or chilli. Or maybe I'll just use my flavoured salt - I have a chilli mix I could use. And I reckon it would be better to do this after they are cooked.
The more I think about it the more daunted I become. They all say it's dead easy, but I don't know. I can tell myself I'm trendy though.
And now that I think about it David has his wine group here next week, so if I make a biggish batch he can use some then too.
Why people think this is easy I have no idea. My effort was a bit of a failure in that my chips/crisps are somewhat soggy. I shall try and make them crisp up by heating in the oven again beforehand but am not very hopeful. But really they are not easy - first you have to slice the vegetables without slicing your fingers. I suppose it's not too hard, but of course the slices sort of stick together. Then you have to wash them to get rid of the starch - easy enough Is suppose, but then comes the hard part - getting them dry. Just pat them dry with paper towel they say. I wish. First I drained them in a colander, then I whisked them in my salad drier thing, then I spread them out - that took ages because the slices were all stuck together - on tea towel, and paper towel and patted them down after a while with more paper towel. Then you have to spread them out again on baking paper for the oven. Too many to be not touching even with four trays. And every time I opened the oven door clouds of steam came out. So - lots of work, and end result - soggy. Well a few were actually a bit burnt! If you want them I recommend buying them.