The triple cooked chip might be as close to a perfect way to eat potato as you can get. They might also take half a day to make, but they are worth it!
by John Pope on January 21, 2016
‘Triple cooked chips’ are becoming ubiquitous. Made famous by Heston Blumenthal, these days they are on the menu of every gastropub which considers itself to be a cut above the usual chain pub foodwise.
There are shedloads of recipes around all claiming to offer you the perfect chip, that elusive combination of the soft fluffy middle and crisp crunchy exterior, but these triple cooked chips are about as close to perfect as I’ve found. They are also very easy although very time consuming to make, and while you will find plenty of recipes that cut some corners, if you are going to go to all of the effort of making such a thing then you really should do it properly.
There are a few key little things that make all the difference here. The most important one is also the annoyingly time consuming bit, making sure the chips are properly cooled between each round of cooking.
The pick of the spuds
To create the perfect chips you need to start with the right variety of potato. It’s all about the amount of dry matter compared to water that they contain, the level of starch, and how well they hold together when boiling.
In his book In Search of Perfection, Heston Blumenthal tests several different varieties of potato, cooking them all in the same way and assessing the results. The undoubted stars of his test are Maris Piper and Arran Victory, they both end up with just the right kind of fluffy in the middle and the right sort of crunchy skin on the outside.
Arran Victory might be trickier to find, but you can lay your hands on Maris Pipers in just about any supermarket or grocer (in the UK at least), and they are definitely the spud to go for.
How to cook them
This really is very easy, it is just time consuming and requires a few minutes of close attention at each stage of cooking.
- Sea salta bit
Peel and cut the potatoes into thick chips. The length doesn’t matter at all, but they should all be approximately the same thickness, about 1.5cm (¾”) is great.
Run the chips under cold running water for a minute or two until the water runs clear, this is to remove starch from the potatoes.
Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. This should be far more salty than you probably normally use for boiling potatoes or vegetables, approx. 10g of salt per litre of water.
Once the water is boiling, add the chips and bring it back to the boil, then simmer gently until they are cooked to the point of almost falling apart. Do NOT be tempted to turn the water up to a higher boil, or the outside of the potatoes will fall apart before they are cooked all the way through.
Use a slotted spoon to remove the chips and put them on a wire rack to steam. Leave them until they are cool and then put them in the fridge until they are properly cold.
Heat the oil in a deep fat fryer or large deep pan to 130°C (250°F) and fry the chips until they have a dry look and have changed to a very slightly golden colour. This will only take a minute or two, so watch them carefully.
Remove them to the rack again and repeat the same cooling process, moving them to the fridge and waiting again until they are completely cold.
Heat the oil to 190°C (375°F) and fry the chips until the outside looks crunchy, crisp and beautifully golden.
Drain and serve immediately with plenty of salt and vinegar.
at this point you can keep the chips in a closed container in the fridge for a day or two if you are the kind of organised person who likes to prepare things in advance.