While you can go out and just buy a bag of your favorite chips, I enjoy making them from scratch. With homemade chips, you can taste so much of the potato itself. This is a simple recipe for something very satisfying to make at home. Kenji Lopez-Alt on the Serious Eats website wrote about blanching uncooked french fries in boiling water laced with vinegar for a few minutes before frying them. It changed my life, and we make them that way at Butter Restaurant to this day. For potato chips, I always love a vinegar note, and the red wine vinegar in the water gives the potatoes a subtle salt-and-vinegar vibe once fried. Sprinkle them with malt vinegar powder and salt just after frying — yum! Garlic powder, as always, is an essential touch. You can also just sprinkle the chips with salt and drizzle malt vinegar over them, then eat immediately…
a mandoline with a safety guard; a deep-fry thermometer
Precook the potatoes: Bring a medium pot with 3 quarts water to a boil over medium heat. Line one or two baking sheets with an absorbent kitchen towel and set aside.
Use a mandoline slicer (with the safety guard) to cut the potatoes into chips 1/8- to 1/10-inch thick. Drop them into the cold water as sliced to rinse some of the starch off. Add a generous amount of salt and the vinegar to the boiling water. Drop half of the potato slices into the water. Simmer for about 3 minutes to soften slightly. Use a slotted spoon or spider to transfer the potatoes to the prepared baking sheet to dry, spreading the potatoes in a single layer. Repeat with the remaining potatoes.
Get ready to fry: Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or other wide, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat until it registers 325 degrees F on a deep-fry thermometer. Line another baking sheet fitted with a dry kitchen towel and set aside.
Drop 1 tester chip in the oil. It should start to bubble and slowly rise to the surface. If not, heat the oil a touch higher and try again.
Fry: Drop the chips, one by one, like you’re dealing cards in a poker game, into the oil, and gently swirl the oil as they fry. The swirling will assure that they fry more evenly on all sides. Fry about a quarter of the chips at a time. When they are crispy and lightly golden, about 10 minutes, use a slotted spoon or spider to transfer them to the lined baking sheet to cool, again arranging them in a single layer. Immediately sprinkle with salt, malt vinegar powder, if using, and the garlic powder. Allow the oil to return to 325 degrees F between batches. Repeat until all the potatoes are cooked.
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