There are many things I remember from four years at a southern college – many things not worthy (or appropriate) for a food blog, but a few of the local favorites are worth writing about. There was the sweet tea and pecan pie served fresh in the dining hall, the hush puppies and pulled pork at the local barbecue stop, and the hand cut, hot from the fryer potato chips served at one of my favorite haunts, Ham’s. No matter what else I ordered – sandwich, wings or even beer, Ham’s potato chips warranted special attention. Golden brown, crispy potatoes, served fresh with homemade ranch dip. The freshman fifteen was so worth it.
The average grocery store potato chip doesn’t quite stack up against my memories of hot, crispy chips, but they’ve managed to suffice in the wee hours of the night (when most of my potato chips are consumed). As a salt (as opposed to sweet) craving person, I’m looking for a DC substitute to Ham’s, and would most graciously accept some suggestions, loyal readers.
In the meantime, I’ve made my own. To start with, pick out your potatoes. I started with several medium-sized Yukon gold potatoes purchased at a local market. (It might be fun to try sweet potatoes or red potatoes as well.) Rinse the potatoes, then slice with a large knife. If you’re not hot on your knife skills or just enjoy gadgets, the chips can also be sliced with an automatic slicer, like this one. The thickness of your slices just depends on your preference, but the thinner slices cook faster and tend to be crispier when cooked.
After the potatoes are sliced, place them in a bowl, drizzle with your choice of oil (I used extra virgin olive oil) and any seasoning you prefer. I used sea salt and Old Bay, but next time will try garlic salt. If you’re nervous about over seasoning, go light, and when the chips are done baking, taste a few and add additional seasoning if needed. Make sure the chips are evenly coated with the oil and seasoning.
Place the chips on a cookie sheet. I found early in the process that some of my slices were sticking to my pan, so I sprayed a little olive oil on the pan’s surface, and put the slices on top. Cook in a 400 degree oven. My chips cooked an average of 13 minutes. You’ll know they’re done when they turn golden brown. Some of the edges may even begin to curl up.
Remove the chips from the cookie sheets and place on paper towels to remove the excess oil. I served my chips warm, you may want yours to cool completely before serving. But if I may make a suggestion- nothing beats warm, golden potato chips with a slightly softer middle.
I almost feel like a freshman again.