Recipe: Oven-Fried Potato Chips

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If you prefer to make your own potato chips, these alt-potato chips have many virtues: They have the true flavor of Idaho potatoes, butter and sea salt. You won't have the smell of fried fat hanging in the air, and a serving yields more than double the amount of chips (and about half the fat of an equal weight of commercial deep-fried chips.)

Although I haven't yet tried it, I have no doubt you could replace the butter with two tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil or rendered duck or goose fat instead of the butter. Bacon fat would also be swell.

4 servings

    • about 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons unsalted butter
    • 1 pound medium Idaho potatoes
    • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt

Preheat the oven to 425 F.

Clarify the butter:
In a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat until it no longer foams and has become clear with solids floating on the top. Skim off the solids and discard. Set aside.

Peel the potatoes and slice them into sixteen of an inch thick rounds on a mandolin or other mechanical slicer like a Benriner. Rinse them in several changes of cold water. Drain well and spin in a salad spinner to remove most of the water and place in a medium bowl. Pat the potatoes dry with paper towels. (Do not leave the potatoes in the water more than five minutes or after you have dried them as they will curl up and won't cook evenly).

With a teaspoon, spoon the clear clarified butter off onto the potatoes, leaving the milky residue in the bottom of the pot. Using a brush, toss the potatoes with the butter making sure each slice is coated. Arrange the slices on a large heavy baking sheet so that they don't touch each other.

Bake on the middle rack of the oven about seven minutes, then check the potatoes. With a metal spatula, remove the potatoes that have become golden brown and crisp and cool on a platter lined with paper towels. Sprinkle with salt. Continue baking the remaining potato slices up to three minutes longer, checking them frequently and removing the finished ones. The chips will keep several days in a plastic bag or tin.

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Sally Schneider writes The Improvised Life, a lifestyle blog about improvising as a daily practice. Her cookbook The Improvisational Cook is now out in paperback. More

Sally Schneider is the founder of The Improvised Life, a lifestyle blog that inspires you to devise, invent, create, make it up as you go along, from design and cooking to cultivating the creative spirit. It's been called a "zeitgeist-perfect website." She is a regular contributor to public radio's The Splendid Table and the author of the best-selling cookbooks The Improvisational Cook and A New Way to Cook, which was recently named one of the best books of the decade by The Guardian. She has won numerous awards, including four James Beard awards, for her books and magazine writing.

Sally has worked as a journalist, editor, stylist, lecturer, restaurant chef, teacher, and small-space consultant, and once wrangled 600 live snails for the photographer Irving Penn. Her varied work has been the laboratory for the themes she writes and lectures about: improvising as an essential operating principle; cultivating resourcefulness and your inner artist; design, style, and food; and anything that is cost-effective, resourceful, and outside the box.
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