Homemade Potato Chips

by R.B. Quinn and Min Merrell

Homemade potato chips are a party home run. 

We can’t be the only ones who leave the Frist Center for the Visual Arts ravishingly hungry. After wandering among Art Deco Automobiles, Camille Utterback’s dancing letters or Gee’s Bend Quilts, we always stop at the Café for their house-made potato chips. That signature sandwich that comes with them is actually just a side. The chips are so good we think the Café should introduce a salty-sweet chips-and-cookie combo to their daily dessert 2 to 5 pm happy hour.

The Frist chips inspired us to get frying at home. It’s fun and after a batch or two, you won’t have friends over without making chips. Visualize a silver bowl piled with golden crisp chips served with evening cocktails. The chips will disappear before your eyes.  

Making good potato chips means careful slicing. A mandoline for creating even, paper-thin slices is a must. Get one. You’ll soon find yourself preferring perfectly even slices of everything—cucumbers, onions, squash, radishes, cabbage.  

Only three ingredients are required for homemade chips—russet baking potatoes, oil for frying and fine sea salt. Season them with your own favorite seasoning blend, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese or fresh herbs, whatever you like, but salt is all you need.

One large baking potato will give you a nice pile, enough to serve four. Use a heavy Dutch oven or deep skillet for frying. We find that the chips are easier to maneuver in a wide pan with about two to three inches of oil. Fry in small batches so you can quickly remove the chips as they begin to turn brown. The bonus is that, unlike most fried foods, chips don’t need to be served immediately. They crisp up as they cool. Fry them earlier in the day, drain well and store in a paper bag. If they don’t seem crisp enough for you at serving time (especially on a humid day), reheat them in a 325°F oven in a roasting pan for a couple of minutes.

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