Cookbook Challenge: Week 43, Crunchy

Salt and vinegar baked chips Salt and vinegar baked chips

Recipe: Salt and vinegar baked chips
Inspired from: Donna Hay, Simple Essentials: Salads and Vegetables

The theme for the Cookbook Challenge this week is “crunchy” and initially I thought I would do a salad of some sort. But despite the fact that it’s slowly warming up in Melbourne, it’s still not quite salad weather. Any kind of weather is potato weather though – so I settled on a recipe for baked chips.

I didn’t bother following the recipe in the book, because the original recipe just said to peel and cut the potatoes and then put them straight into the oven. But if you want crunchy baked edges on your potatoes, that is definitely not going to work. I have finally mastered the perfect roast potato this year, so I used my usual method, and cut the potatoes into chips rather than the usual chunks.

Salt and vinegar baked chips

Do you want to know how to make a perfect roast potato that’s crunchy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside? Here we go. First, you need to parboil your potatoes in salted water. Add a tablespoon of vinegar to every litre of water. Don’t worry, you won’t be able to taste the vinegar. It just helps the potatoes keep their shape and stops them from collapsing into mush.

(By the way, if I had planned ahead, I would have left the skin on the potatoes but I only thought about it after I peeled all of them!)

While the potatoes are parboiling, splash a couple of tablespoons of oil on a metal tray, and pop it into the oven to heat up. I’ve found that this is the step that’s particularly important for crisp potatoes. When the potatoes are soft, drain them and (carefully) tip them on to the hot oil. If it sizzles, it’s going to be good! (Side note: I didn’t do it for the chips, but for normal potatoes, after draining, give them a shake in the pot before tipping them on the tray to rough up the edges for extra crunch.) Pop them in the oven, and don’t forget to turn them halfway through cooking.

Pretty simple, huh? I used to struggle to do a good roast potato, but ever since I started following this method it’s been perfection every time. The only downside is that it does make the house smell like oil (and I set the smoke alarm off twice making the chips!) but one bite of the crunchy potato and it’s all forgotten. My chips may not be that pretty but they tasted great – crisp, yet still fluffy inside. The three of us ate ALL of them in one go – and yes, I made the full amount listed in the recipe below. Gulp. At least it was probably a bit healthier than fried chips… right?

See previous Cookbook Challenge posts here.

Salt and vinegar baked chips

Salt and vinegar baked chips

Inspired by: Donna Hay, Simple Essentials: Salads and Vegetables

Serves 4-6 (or 3 hungry people)

2 tablespoons oil
1.5k floury potatoes, washed, peeled (optional) and cut into chips
2 tablespoons vinegar
sea salt and cracked black pepper
A handful of chopped spring onions
1/4 teaspoon brown sugar
1/4 cup malt vinegar

Preheat the oven to 200C. Place the oil on to a metal tray and pop it into the oven to heat up.

Meanwhile, place the potatoes and vinegar into a large pot and add enough cold water to cover the potatoes. Add a heaped teaspoon of salt and bring the water up to the boil. Turn down to a simmer and cook the potatoes until just soft.

Drain the potatoes. Take the hot tray out of the oven and carefully tip the potatoes on to the tray. Season well with salt and pepper and using tongs, turn the potatoes to coat them in the oil.

Put the tray back into the oven and roast for about 50 minutes, or until they are golden and crispy. Turn the potatoes halfway through cooking.

Combine the spring onions, sugar and vinegar in a jar and shake to combine. Serve the hot chips with the vinegar mixture on the side.