Friday, 24 August 2012

Oven baked sweet potato crisps (with herbs & smoked salt)

Probably in last ten or twelve years (or maybe longer?) I haven't been a big fan of potato crisps. I use to like them a lot, but then after one of my best friend's birthday party that I have spent mostly on my knees embracing a toilet and getting those chips back from my stomach... Never mind. The point is - I never touched them since. And just to make it clear - I had one beer and I think it must have been not exactly fresh one...

I tried them again when I moved to UK, because the idea of vinegar flavour was so intriguing, that I could not resist. Now I have to say I like them a lot, try not to eat them very often, probably small packet or two a year when I have cravings. What I like even more are vegetable crisps. There are few on the market that have a decent mixture of nice vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, parsnips but none of those are baked. 

Therefore I made an attempt to my own oven baked crisps. Sweet potato is probably one of my favourite bites from whole selection of vegetable crisps, so I decided to start with this veg and hopefully will be more to come. Perhaps even my own homemade selection of baked vegetable crisps? It would be good not to depend on the shop bought, deep fried. We'll see!

Makes bowl enough to 2-4 for sharing 

2 large sweet potatoes, unpeeled, washed 
3-4 tbsp olive oil 
few small springs of fresh thyme and rosemary
smoked, flaked salt 

Using a mandoline slicer is essential. Potatoes should be cut into same thickness otherwise baking them will be problematic. I cut them into about 1.5mm slices.

Heat the oven to 150C (fan). Place the potatoes in one layer onto a baking tray. You don't have to, but you can very lightly oil the tray before putting the potatoes on, but I once tried to bake them without oiling the tray and probably one out of ten didn't want to come off (I used knife), but otherwise they were OK. It depends how much oil you want to use in this recipe. Oil on the tray helps to get them crispier - that is sure.

Chop the herbs and mix with the remaining oil, then brush the top of the potatoes, sprinkle with some salt and place in the oven. Now the tricky bit - because they are of different size some of them will be ready after about 25-30 minutes. They will be curled up on the edges, lightly browned and crispy. Remove them from the oven and place on the wire rack. When the cooled down, check larger crisps - they probably will need some more time in the oven - the centre will be still quite chewy. Turn the temperature down to about 100C and return them to the oven on the same baking tray (no oiling required). Bake until crispy. This, depending on the size and thickness of the slices, should take about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool down. Place in a serving bowl and enjoy. 

They are very hygroscopic, which means they absorb moisture very easily and quickly, so better not to store them, but eat straight away. Or, if they are bit damp and chewy in orded to make them more crispier return them to the oven and be careful not to burn them.

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