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Root Vegetable Crisps

Most London pubs sell packets of crisps or nuts, but stylish bars serve their own vegetable crisps, bread sticks and marinated olives. The crisps are made from finely sliced root vegetables, such as potatoes, parsnips and celery root, and are tossed in sea salt. Some are flavored with a dusting of chili powder or chopped fresh thyme.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large parsnip, peeled
  • 1 russet potato, peeled
  • 1 small celery root, peeled and halved lengthwise
  • 1 large red beet, peeled
  • Sunflower oil for deep-frying
  • Sea salt, to taste

Directions:

Cut the parsnip lengthwise into slices slightly thinner than a coin. Place the slices in a bowl of water. Repeat for the potato, celery root and beet, placing the slices of each vegetable into separate bowls of water. Set aside to soak, about 20 minutes, to remove the excess starch.

In a large, heavy fry pan over medium-high heat, pour in sunflower oil to a depth of 4 inches and heat to 375°F on a deep-frying thermometer. Drain the vegetable slices and thoroughly pat dry. Carefully place a handful of parsnip slices in the hot oil and fry until golden and crisp, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a wire rack lined with paper towels to drain. When the oil returns to 375°F, fry the remaining parsnip slices.

Fry the potato slices, then the celery root slices and finally the beet slices in the same way, letting the oil return to 375°F before adding each batch to the pan. The potato slices will cook in 3 minutes; the celery root and beet slices will cook in 4 minutes and will crinkle slightly and will not become crisp until they begin to cool.

Place the crisps in a bowl and season with salt. Serve immediately. Serves 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma A Taste of the World (Gold Street Press, 2008).