Friday, May 09, 2008

Best Chips Ever

While I was in Spain this week, I had some really great chips (that's them there).
Truth is, I will eat pretty well any chip, as long as it's hot and has got salt on. I like the ones they do in Ken's on Half Moon Lane a lot (and so, clearly, does he). TimeOut say Comptoir Gascon make the best in London, which may be true but my most favourite ever come from The Hinds Head pub where Heston Blumethal has spent years perfecting them. This is how he does his:

With the right variety of potato, these chips are crisp on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside. The beauty of this method is that the potatoes can be cooked twice and kept in the fridge until required.
1.2kg/2lb 8oz potatoes, such as Charlotte or Belle de Fontenay
1 litre/1¾ pints groundnut oil

1. With a sharp knife, square the potatoes into rectangles and then cut them into chips about 1cm/½inch thick. The length of the chips is not so important, but try to keep them the same thickness so that they will cook at the same rate.
2. As soon as the chips are cut, put them into a bowl under cold running water for 10 minutes or so to rinse off some of the starch, then drain them.
3. Next, bring a casserole of unsalted water to the boil and plunge in the drained potatoes. Bring back to the boil and simmer very gently until the point of a knife will penetrate the chips easily.
4. Very carefully lift the potatoes out of the water, using a slotted spoon, and place them on a tray. Allow them to steam until they are cool, then place them in the fridge. The chips will harden when cold.
5. Heat the groundnut oil to a temperature of 130C/250F (CAUTION: Hot oil can be dangerous. Do not leave unattended) and carefully plunge in the chips as they may splutter. After a while, they will take on a drier appearance (do not let them brown at all). When this happens, they have finished their second cooking process; drain them, let them cool to room temperature, and put them into the fridge. When cold, they are ready for their final cooking.
6. Heat the groundnut oil to a temperature of 180C/350F (CAUTION: Hot oil can be dangerous. Do not leave unattended). Carefully plunge in the chips and cook until golden brown. This may take 8-10 minutes.
7. Drain and season with salt only; they will take quite a lot. Serve.


BLTP said...

Good chips in spain is truly a find as most times they pretty poor that's discounting the times I've ordered "patatas fritas" and got crisps!
re: T'old Heston's chips I do question the principal of fast food taking several hopurs to prepare.

Five-Centres said...

Fino's chips covered in garlic and salt I would give my life for. And they're Spanish.

However the best are to be found at the Goodfare restaurant, Camden Parkway. I'm pretty sure they're oven chips, but they do taste good.

Matt said...

The chippie on Theobald's Road. Only one I've found in London which fries in beef dripping. A heart attack on every plate, but so worth it...