Thursday, 29 March 2012

Victory, from the jaws of culinary defeat

I had a bit of a cooking crisis this evening which turned out well, involving my attempt to tart up a frozen crumbed fish dinner by making fancy chips.

As fortune would (eventually) have it, the potato bin contained two very slightly different kinds of potato today.  They both had the same kind of pinkish skin, but one kind had flesh that was a tiny bit darker than the other.  This should have been a warning, but it wasn't.

Anyway.  I noticed this difference as I was peeling the potatoes and preparing them for the two-part cooking process I've come to trust: slice them into the chip shapes you want, then par-boil them to give them enough moisture inside that when you oven-bake them they go crispy on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside.  This process also involves gently tossing the things in vegetable oil prior to baking, and at that point you can also get fancy with the flavouring.  Tonight I cut them french-fry style and chose a ground rosemary and rock salt flavouring, which smells divine as they bake and tastes wonderful.

So, I was carefully watching the proto-chips simmering in a saucepan when I noticed that the darker of the potato types was about to melt away into the water.  BUGGER!  Heat off, into the collander in the sink.  Yup - half my chips were well on their way to being mash, and Mrs G then advocated that course of action for the lot.

Well, I'm a bloody-minded bloke and I thought no, bugger it, I'm going to make chips, and if there's some oven baked hash involved as well, so be it.  I swirled the proto-chips in the oiled bowl, with gritted teeth (me, not the chips), and then laid them out on a lined baking tray, popped them in the oven and got on with everything else.  

(The other part of tarting up dinner involved steaming carrot with garlic and adding honey after draining.  Mmmm.  For the record, the peas and crumbed fish were unadorned.)

Surprisingly, the result was wonderfully crusted, crispy chips with light fluffy insides.  Not quite as many chips as I'd intended, but they were pretty damned good.

As we sat down to dinner I described what I thought had occurred with the chips, and my darling Mrs G observed that what I had created was, in fact, oven-baked potato-crusted potato chips.

Having given them a name there is no way on earth I'll ever be able to replicate the things, but I suppose this is how new dishes are created, and I can only hope that someone out there, somewhere, is inspired enough to give it a go.

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