Root crisps

Root crisps

By
From
A Year at Otter Farm
Photographer
Mark Diacono

The fact that most of us don’t know who invented crisps is, frankly, a failure of the school syllabus. It seems it was either George Crum or Eliza Acton (depending who you believe), as recently as the mid 1800s. It makes you wonder what people ate for centuries before with their chosen brew.

Crisps are simple to make. Potatoes, celeriac, parsnip, Jerusalem artichokes and salsify all work well, but nothing touches chervil root and parsley root. Whatever the veg, the process is the same.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
root veg of your choice
sunflower oil, for deep-frying

To serve

Quantity Ingredient
caster sugar
ground cinnamon, mixed spice or garam masala
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. Wash the root veg and pat dry with kitchen paper, then pare into long, fine strips, using a vegetable peeler.
  2. Heat a 5cm depth of sunflower oil in a fairly wide, heavy pan over a medium heat to about 170°C; the oil should come no more than a third of the way up the side of the pan. To test the temperature, drop a small cube of bread into the oil – it should fizz and brown in around a minute. If the oil is too hot, the crisps turn very dark and bitter, so turn down the heat and let it cool a little if you need to.
  3. Carefully add a handful of the vegetable strips – not too many at once, as they need some room. Fry, turning them once in a while with a slotted spoon, until they’re lightly browned all over. Lift them out onto kitchen paper to drain, keeping chervil root and parsley root crisps separate.
  4. When most of the oil has drained but a trace remains, dust the chervil root crisps with salt and black pepper, and the parsley root with caster sugar and cinnamon or mixed spice. Try them the other way round if you like, or with garam masala, or whatever else you fancy.
Tags:
River Cottage
seasonal cooking
hugh fearnley whittingstall
otter farm
devon
winter recipes
summer recipes
spring recipes
autumn recipes
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