Chips

Kevin Kindland

Kevin Kindland

21st February 2014

Chips

Chips Triple Cooked chips The Fat Duck Cookbook

As well as low moisture content, it is the fissures that are created as the potato breaks up that later help the formation of a crunchy crust during frying. Professor Laurie Hall, who pioneered the use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to analyse food, has used MRI to film how fat behaves as the chips cook. Fat doesn’t generally penetrate the exterior of the potato or form a carapace around it, but it wilt collect in the little fissures and harden into brittle, juicy seams, rather like the knobbly bits on good batter.

But as important as technique is the type of potato being used — in particular the amount of water it contains (the dry-matter content). Given the lengths this recipe goes to in order to get rid of moisture from the cooked potato, it might be thought that a high dry-matter content would best suit chips, but for the first series of In Search of Perfection we tested potatoes with a dry-matter content ranging from 21.8 to 22.3 per cent and found that too high a percentage gave a tough, leathery exterior, white too low a percentage produced something bland and unexceptional, and even a variation in dry-matter content of 0.5 per cent made a huge difference. In our tests, Arran Victory and Mans Piper (21.8 and 21.9 per cent respectively) produced the best results.

2kg maris piper potatoes or Arran Victory potatoes
4kg water
30g table salt
groundnut oil
sea salt

Cut the potatoes into chips 1.5cm square and wash under cold water for 2—3 minutes to rinse off some of the starch.

Bring the water and table salt to the boil, then add the chips to the pan. Cook, simmering, until the potato almost falls apart. (Do not be tempted to cook them any less as the closer they are to falling apart, the better the final texture.) Carefully transfer the chips to a wire rack and sous-vide at full pressure. Repeat the sous-vide process 3 times, by which point the chips will be cool and feel slightly dry on the surface.

Fill a deep-fat fryer with groundnut oil and heat to 130°C/250°F, Fry the chips in small batches or 8 minutes, or until a very pale crust forms. Drain on kitchen paper and sous-vide them once more (not in a bag), while still hot. Pull the vacuum three more times, then refrigerate in an airtight container with packets of silica until needed.

Ingredients

  • Maris piper potatoes, Washed and Peeled
  • Vegetable oil, for deep frying
  • 6Liters of Water
  • 60g Salt

Method

Cut potatoes into chips about 1cm-1.5cm thick. (Don’t worry too much about making them all the same size: the variation will give a greater range of textures.) As soon as the chips are cut, place them in a bowl under cold running water for 2-3 minutes, to rinse off some of the starch, then drain
Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil (adding 10g salt per litre of water), add the chips in small batches, bring back to the boil and then simmer for 8 minutes
Using a spider, carefully lift the potatoes out of the water. Place them on a try lined with blue jay cloth. Then put in the fridge until cold. (The dry air of the fridge makes a good environment in which to remove excess moisture from the chips via evaporation.)
Heat the vegetable oil to 130C in a deep-fryer, Fry the chips in small batches for 8 minutes, or until a very pale crust forms(do not let them brown at all).. Remove the chips and drain off the excess fat. Place them on a try lined with blue jay cloth. and allow to cool, then return to the fridge until cold.
To Serve
Heat the oil to 180C. Plunge the chips back into the oil and cook for 4-5 minutes until they are golden brown. Drain and season with sea salt

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