Chipper Chips

There is nothing better than a great chip, but nothing worse than a bad one. To keep your chips chipper, we gathered some insider tips from an expert, chef Hayden Groves.

Hayden says that first up, make sure you pick the right potato and oil, and prep your potatoes properly – scrubbing and cleaning them and removing as much starch and moisture as possible. Whether you leave the skin on for a more rustic chip is about personal preference, as is whether you choose the traditional twice-cooked or thrice-cooked method – a technique developed by Heston Blumenthal to get “chips with a glass-like crust and a soft, fluffy centre”.

The best sort of potato for chips is the floury sort, says Hayden. The best varieties are arran victories, red roosters, agri, yukon golds and maris pipers. Hayden is also partial to the aptly named chippies choice which are grown specifically for making chips. For him 300g of potato is the ideal weight per person. Hayden’s choice of oils to use are vegetable ones like sunflower or rapeseed, or duck fat, beef dripping or, as they do in France, horse fat.

After washing your potatoes well, make sure you remove the starch by soaking in cold water for 10 minutes. Then change the water and soak for a further five minutes.

For the twice cooked method, go straight to frying the raw potatoes in your oil of choice. If you are following the thrice-cooked method – first plunge the cut chips in cold salted water and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook until tender. Remove and place on a cooling rack to dry out. Once the chips have cooled leave them in the fridge or the freezer for about an hour – this will help to remove more moisture.
Top chef tip: some of the potatoes will have broken up and become misshapen, but do not discriminate on looks – these will taste fantastic and have a rustic appeal so don’t throw them out.

Heat your oil to 130℃ in a fryer or a deep pan. It’s a good idea to use a digital probe to check the temperature is right. Fry the chips in small batches for three to five minutes – this removes more moisture and stops the insides from getting soggy. If cooking from raw, they will need a little longer.
Top chef tip: when ready, the oil should stop bubbling and the chips just starting to turn a very light golden colour.

Next remove chips from the oil, drain and tip back onto the cooling rack. Keep in the fridge until needed – they will keep for up to two days.

The final step is to heat the oil to 180℃ and fry the chips until golden – this will take about three to four minutes. Drain on some absorbent cloth and sprinkle with fine sea salt.Top chef tip: use fine salt, not flakes as these will just slide off!

Serve these perfect chips with your customer’s choice of sauce: ketchup, vinegar, mayonnaise or Bearnaise sauce.