Crisps are snacks made from thin slices of potato (or other root vegetables such as sweet potato or beetroot) that are either deep-fried or oven-baked. The most traditional flavouring is salt, although all manner of flavours are available. Crisps are known as potato chips in America and other American-English speaking countries. The term can also refer to a thin, crisp sheet of food – such as a cheese ‘crisp’, made by melting grated cheese (such as parmesan) on a baking sheet and leaving it to cool and harden.
Ready-made crisps are sold in a variety of flavours, from salt and vinegar and cheese and onion to ketchup, chicken or wasabi.
Keep crisps at their freshest by storing in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. They will keep for up to 2-3 days.
For homemade crisps, it’s best to use a mandoline to get the thinnest possible slices of potato. If you don’t own a mandoline, a sharp potato peeler will do a similar job. It’s important to get rid of excess starch from the sliced potatoes to ensure ultra-crunchy crisps: soak the potato slices in a bowl of cold water until they begin to curl around the edges, then drain well and pat dry with kitchen paper. Fry the dried potato slices in very hot oil and keep a close eye on them as they will cook in around 10-15 seconds. (Remember, hot oil can be dangerous and will spit unless the potatoes are as dry as possible. Do not leave unattended.)
A healthier way to make crisps is to bake the dried slices in a hot oven (200C/390F/Gas 6), drizzled with a small amount of oil, until golden-brown and crisp. Season the crisps while they’re still warm.
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