Monday, January 5, 2009

My new favorite kitchen gadget

I don't like most of the junk marketing gurus come up with to sell lazy cooks, but sometimes a great tool comes around. Enter the Kyocera double edged mandolin:

This bad boy is amazing. I shredded half a head of cabbage in about one minute. Not only that, but it gets paper thin:

This tool lends itself to many applications, such as the immanently awesome potato chip. Now, unless you have ever had fresh potato chips you have never beheld the true glory of the spud.

Here is my recipe for a glorious basket of fried tuber goodness:

- 4 large potatoes, washed but left unpeeled
- 1 mandolin slicer (or be better than Masaharu Morimoto with a knife)
- 1 deep bowl filled with ice water (as in water that has ice floating in it)
- 1 dutch oven (cast iron works awesome...forget about nonstick)
- 1 liter Canola oil (don't skimp...seriously)
- 1 thermometer (instant read or candy/fry thermometer. You'll be toast without it)
- 1 box of kosher salt or coarse sea salt (do yourself a favor and get some)

Russets are the all American fry potato and in all honesty a monkey could fry them. They don't burn very easy, crisp up nice, and have huge "potato" flavor (yes, that is a bit obvious, but I only share what taste tests have revealed). As multiplicative as those factors are, my preferred potato is the Yukon Gold. Yes, it burns like an albino in Florida on spring break. Yes, it doesn't have as distinct "potato" flavor as the Russet, but they are a thing of golden sweet and salty goodness when done right.

After washing the potatoes cut them as thin as possible. Like I said before, this is mandolin territory. Move them immediately into the ice water and let stand for at least 30 minutes, but preferably an hour or more. Leaving them overnight is kosher as well. While the very American gotta-be-moving-at-every-second in you wants to just charge ahead and fry them bad boys wait. The starch needs to be removed from the potatoes in order for them to fry right.

Heat your oil to 370. Not much more, not much less...especially if you decide to buck the trend and go for the Yukon Golds. Rinse the potato slices with cold water in a colander, shake dry very well and drop into the oil. DON'T do them all at the same time. Do about a handful at a time. When they look like the above photo remove and put into a bowl lined with a few paper towels. Immediately christen with salt (don't be've just gone through a lot of work to make something fried in is not the time to be worried about your sodium intake). Move your next batch into the oil and then dig into the pile of fried goodness. Hurry or your friends will beat you up and take them.

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