Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Old Bay Potato Chips, Part I

There have been several times that I've wanted to use Old Bay seasoning since living here; mostly with a run of great tiger shrimp I found in one of the supermarkets. I'm not sure how this happened, but I didn't bring any. Love that stuff. So, once again, I turned to the internet and found this recipe.

I didn't have mace or ground ginger, so I went without. But as for the rest of the spices I either had whole or ground on hand. I used the coffee grinder for the whole spices. In order to get the coffee bits out from the previous grinding, I cleaned the grinder with water and wiped dry and then added a tablespoon or two of rice and ground that up. It worked very well to not only get the bits of coffee out, but the smell as well. Which was the goal. Try to imagine Old Bay-scented Starbuck's at 6.30 in the morning. Blech.

Here are the spices after being ground.

And here they are mixed, after a few adjustments which I'll cover soon. Okay, mistakes. Don't do what I do, do what I say.

So here's where I went wrong. I think I used California dried bay leaves instead of Turkish, which are milder. Because when I tasted it, it was very bitter. Or I used really old bay leaves, which is possible if you know about the #1 rule of expat cooking: ignore expiry dates. My bad.

So I bumped up the sweet paprika and added some salt since I used celery seeds and not celery salt. As I pondered if it was really like the real thing, I smelled my fingers. And they reminded me of Old Bay, so I think it's a close approximation. And likely right on if you have all the right spices.

So, Old Bay Seasoned Potato Chips.

Here's what you need. Old Bay, olive oil and potatoes. Could it be more simple?

Next, I grabbed the mandoline again after cleaning a couple of potatoes, choosing those that were flatish over round. I mandolined until I had a nice pile of spuds.

Then I mixed about a tablespoon of Old Bay into two tablespoons of olive oil.

And spread the mixture onto each slice of potato before putting it seasoned side down.

And lined them up all pretty like on a baking sheet and brushed the other side with the mixture. Then baked them in a pre-heated oven at 210 celcius (just over 400 F) about 40 minutes, flipping half way through. Don't under bake them. Check them often towards the end of baking and take out those that are sufficiently crunchy, including the center.

And here's how good they looked!

Now, tie your hands behind your back and swear not to eat any (well, any more than a few, or a few more) because I made them for a reason. As the secret ingredient in last night's dinner.

Can you guess?

Stay tuned!

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