Tuesday, 21 February 2012

National Chip Week

I don't know who sits on the committee that comes up with these "National" weeks or days but the people who decided to hold "National Chip Week" in February were clearly clueless. Don't get me wrong, I love chips - probably more than I should! And a tummy full of stodge in the depths of miserable winter has its appeal. But, come on, potatoes are not at their best in February!

Take a potato out of a bag at this time of year and what have you got? Something big, possibly a little bit springy to the feel and probably with a few sprouts growing out of it. This thing came out of the ground half a year ago. It has lost water and a good deal of the starch inside it has been converted into sugars and neither of these things make for a good chip. Try deep frying that and it will brown too quickly and never crisp up. Just don't even bother. Unless the potatoes were previously chipped and frozen months ago I'd say don't waste your time.

The perfect chip is a fantastic food. Take large a potato, straight from the ground, scrub it, peel it you must, then cut it into long chips. Rinse the excess starch from the cut edges and pat them dry on kitchen towel. Now for deep frying, although I prefer to use a Tefal Actifry which works remarkably well with only a drop of oil. Twenty minutes later you will have golden, crisp on the outside, soft in the middle chips. And just writing that makes me fancy a plateful. Alas, this moment is 4 months away because those gorgeous fresh, maincrop potatoes won't be ready to harvest unless then.

Chips in February... well yes, I shall probably have some but they won't be chips deserving of their own special week. That's a treat for the summer.

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