What’s a little fried food between friends? Parsnip chips.December 22, 2006
Munch, munch, munch.
Let’s face it: Homemade chips are the bomb. We are genetically and evolutionarily driven to consume salty fried snacks. And while you can’t always yield to Mother Nature’s urges, if you’re going to sock away that many calories, you want them to be worthwhile, don’t you?
That’s where these homemade parsnip chips can come in.
They’re delicate, sweet and light — yet fried and salty. It’s a contradiction I can’t explain, particularly with my mouth full of parsnip chips. Honestly, I found these unexpectedly tasty. Viewing the vegetable that they come from, I was duly skeptical. But from that oversized white carrot, that humble root, comes a superior chip. It tastes a lot like what I thought a sweet potato chip would taste like — except I’m usually disappointed by sweet potato chips (they’re often too chewy, thick and mealy).
In fact, it turns out that parsnip chips were what my imagination, and tummy, were craving.
So when you’re mindlessly reaching for that bag of Lay’s, bat your hand away, man. Pull out that other white root vegetable and get a fryin’. You won’t be sor… Munch, munch, munch.
Parsnip chip… If there were ever a veg that deserved to be rendered into chip form, it’s the parsnip. I mean, who doesn’t love rhyme?
Oh, not so familiar with this vegetable? Or afraid that it might be some mutant-toxic-albino carrot?
Well, for those of you who aren’t familiar with the fellow, a parsnip is a tap root, like a carrot. It has been around for ages and appears to be making a resurgence. If you watch enough food TV or eat out often, it’s not uncommon to see a parsnip purée or similar use. Heck, after getting the idea, I discovered there are even people who have been making a parsnip chip for quite sometime.
As for its taste, a parsnip has a lightness and bite that make it very refreshing, but also a substance and sweetness that make it pleasant to eat. A chip suits it well. The parsnip has enough flavor that there is no need to even season with anything but salt.
And, if you have a mandoline, these chips are extremely simple to make. Oh, I said mandoline, not mandolin (sounds the same when spoken). The one with the “e” is the slicer tool, the one without is the guitar-like instrument. With the mandoline, you can churn out perfectly thin slices quick as a stitch and be done within 15-20 min (based on how long your oil takes to heat). I hope you enjoy and perhaps put these to use as a quick dish for a Christmas gathering or a nice New Year’s Day sit-around-and-watch-football snack — talk about fancy grub for watching the Mieneke Car Care Bowl.
Yields: 4 – 6 servings
3-4 large parsnips
Vegetable, Canola or Peanut Oil
1. In a large pot or Dutch oven, fill to about two-thirds (2/3) with oil.
WARNING: DO NOT OVERFILL! Overfilling will cause the oil to bubble up when you place the chips in and may cause it to spill over. This would be bad. It will increase your odds of a small fire or having your flesh bubbled off by scalding hot oil!
2. Over high heat, heat the oil to 350F.
3. While the oil is heating, slice the parsnips thin using a mandoline.
4. Once the oil has reached temperature, lower a handful of parsnips into the oil using a slotted spoon or spider. Cook for 1 min or until the chips are light brown.
5. Remove from the oil and place on paper towels to drain. Sprinkle with salt. Let cool for a 5 min. Serve. Enjoy!