Musings About Chips

“Where are the chips?” A comment from an ex-colleague seeing my fishcakes pic.

Good question.

Due to my childhood in Belgium and despite my aim to keep deep-fried foods to a minimum, I must admit to a soft spot for chips.

Not Oven chips or Maccie D’s, nor English chip shop chips or French fries, whatever those are. French fries are a US invention, surely? I doubt the French would put their name to those.

No. Proper chips. In my humble opinion invented by the Belgians, though I am fully aware that is open to debate

organic chips friet

Mum, bless her soul, used to make brilliant chips. I have fond memories of oodles of them, blanched and spread out on local newspaper on the kitchen worktop before their final fry in an old battered cast iron pan (the very same my dad used to inadvertently set the kitchen on fire many years later, but that’s another story altogether????)

I’ve tried them all: the blanched in water then fried, the blanched in oil at various low temperatures, then fried at a higher temperature to crisp and colour, the modified Heston triple cooked (i.e. minus the vac pack treatment, but with the freezing on a tray in-between each step), and even, mea culpa, the shop bought frozen oven ones.

Research confirms the variety of potato is key (in England, most recommend a Maris Piper or Golden Chipper), the type of oil, possibly soaking, drying, chilling, blanching, shaking post-blanching to roughen up the edges, frying temperatures, you name it.

Forget the theory Reality is: the perfect home made chip still eludes me.

Tonight I made a decent enough pairing for some left over fishcakes by chipping, soaking, drying, blanching in a good vegetable oil at 130 C, cooling and finally crisping/browning in batches at 180 C.

Homemade chips friet friesHomemade chips friet fries

Close, but no cigar. Maybe it’s the old battered cast iron pan that’s needed to achieve the perfection of my childhood. Or mum.

Tip of the day : do not try and take a shortcut by reheating your left oover lemon butter sauce in the microwave. It does not work. Trust me.

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