I have raved about the virtues of Heston Blumenthals thrice-cooked chips many times on this blog. The method of parboiling the potatoes, then frying them to drive out the moisture, then re-frying to crisp up has produced THE most perfect chip time and time again.
But then I tuned in to Nigella Lawsons new BBC series Nigellisima the other night and saw a method that I thought was madness: the crazy woman cooks her chipped potatoes by immersing them in cold oil, and then heating up.
It couldnt possibly work, could it? It couldnt possibly challenge the great God of Thriceness, could it?
Last night, I put Nigellas method to the test in the comfort of my own kitchen. Here we go, hold on tight now¦
Enough for 2 people
1 litre sunflower or groundnut oil
2 large Maris Piper or King Edward Potatoes
1 garlic bulb, separated into cloves
8-10 sage leaves
1. Peel the potatoes and cut into chips about 1 cm thick.
2. Pour the oil into a large saucepan and add the chips.
3. Turn the heat on and bring the oil to a rolling boil. Very carefully stir the chips every couple of minutes or so for even cooking and to prevent burning. If you think the chips look like theyre getting too dark, reduce the heat.
4. Cook for approx. 15-20 mins, checking the tenderness of the chips as you go along. As the chips cook, the insides will become fluffy and the outsides will crisp up.
5. A few minutes before the end, drop the unpeeled garlic cloves into the oil.
7. When the chips are crisp, carefully remove them and the garlic cloves with a slotted spoon onto kitchen towel.
8. With the heat still on, drop the sage leaves into the oil for about 30 seconds until they crips up. Remove with a slotted spoon.
9. Scatter the sage over the chips and sprinkle with rock salt. Squeeze the sweet puree from the garlic skins.
THE VERDICT: This was an Oh. My. God. moment for me. The chips were as good as thrice-cooked (not better, but as good as) but without all the faffing of the three cooking processes. And the garlic and sage were a stunning surprise. This is definitely on my list to cook again. Thanks Nigella and sorry, Heston!