Today I decided it was time to use the mandoline I recently purchased and what better way to give it a test drive than to slice sweet potatoes for home-made chips? I waited a long time before purchasing a mandoline. I had always wanted one, but whenever I saw one in a store, it was too exorbitant. Not so anymore. I purchased my Swissmar Borner V Slicer Plus for only about $40 and I learned today that it works great. Click on the photo to learn more.
I was inspired to finally purchase a mandoline after reading ZestyCook.com’s post about Healthy Homemade French Fries. In his post (and other posts of his), he recommends soaking the potatoes in salted water for 30 minutes before baking them. It draws the starch out of the potatoes and they crisp better when you cook them. I didn’t have time for that step today, so I skipped it. Later in this post, you’ll learn whether or not the chips got crispy anyway.
Today, I set out to determine whether deep frying the potato slices in olive oil really tastes better than baking them in the oven. So I sliced two batches and pit them against each other.
The Frying Technique:
I heated extra virgin olive oil in a heavy-bottomed, deep frying pan on pretty high heat until it was just starting to smoke. I don’t have an oil thermometer, so I just had to guess that it was an appropriate temperature. While the oil was heating, I sliced the potatoes with my mandoline and salted them.
When the oil was ready, I slid them in carefully. They sizzled right away without splattering, so I knew I had gotten the temperature right. I put in enough slices so that the pan was full but they weren’t touching each other. After about a minute and a half, I used tongs to flip them over. After about another minute and a half, I used tongs to remove them to a plate lined with a paper towel. I sprinkled a little more salt on them and let them cool for a couple of minutes. I also dabbed the top of them with another paper towel.
The Baking Technique:
I preheated my oven to 425˚F. I sprayed a cooking sheet with non-stick cooking spray (Pam) and laid the slices on the sheet about 1/2 inch apart from each other. I then sprayed the slices lightly and salted them as well. I put them in the oven for 5 minutes, then flipped them and put them back in the oven for another 5 minutes. I flipped them again and thought they could use a couple more minutes. Luckily, I checked on them frequently, because once they started to brown, they browned up really quickly. The super-thin slices actually burned, but there were lots of slices that were just right. What amazed me was how much they shrunk!
The Lip-Smacking Smackdown Winner
Taste tests revealed: the baked version was better! It retained more of the sweet flavor that characterizes the garnet yams I used. There wasn’t a huge crunch to them, but there was definitely some crispiness. The fried ones were crispier, but the flavor was not as strong. Maybe the significant shrinkage of the baked ones concentrated the flavors? Next time, I will try soaking the slices in salted water to see if the baked ones can be crispy too. They they just might be perfect.
Other paths to perfection?
Sprinkle the raw slices with:
or other favorite herb
Any other additions you would suggest?