Prep time: 15 minutes
About this recipe
The first inspiration for this recipe, as always, is my client and her story: “I’d get upset when the packet finished”. That staple saviour in her lunchbox, cheese and onion crisps, reminded her that there was enjoyment to be had. Life could be delicious, but ultimately those feelings were fleeting – the empty packet an eternal token of this. The second inspiration is Nigella Lawson; her recipe for salt and vinegar potatoes helps give culinary gravitas to my belief that classic crisp flavours punch above their potato weight when in cooked form. Warmth exudes. And it was something my client so needed and wanted. As for my needs; Cypriot chips are traditionally cut into rounds, so that’s what we have here. The cheese and onion seasoning isn’t so Cypriot with the inclusion of parmesan, but you need its sharp saltiness to sit with the sweetness of the onion: together they pack a hefty, but harmonious, savoury hit. In the spirit of crisp packet convenience, this recipe works really well with ready-grated parmesan. In fact, its dusty dryness is preferable. Be warned: you might well prefer these to their crisp counterpart…
- 500g small-medium sized potatoes (I use Vivaldi – they hold their shape well when boiled)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 tablespoons grated parmesan
- 3 tablespoons onion granules
- Sea salt flakes to finish
Something to bear in mind when boiling/simmering vegetables: if it grows underground, start in cold salted water and cover with a lid – this mimics the darkness of the growth conditions.
- Preheat the oven to 220C/gas mark 7.
- Wash the potatoes, place them in a large saucepan and add enough cold water to just cover, together with ½ teaspoon of salt. Lid and bring to the boil. Then lower the heat and simmer the potatoes for 10-15 minutes – the exact time will depend on their size but the goal is for a knife to pass easily through the outer 1cm of the potato.
- Drain the potatoes well and let them cool a little, so that you can handle them comfortably. Peel the potatoes; as the potatoes dry, their skins become thinner and almost tracing paper-like, which makes this process easier.
- Add the olive oil to a large roasting tray and pop it in the oven for around 5 minutes. Whilst that’s heating, slice the peeled potatoes – you want the slices to be around ½ a centimetre thick.
- Prepare the seasoning by combining the grated parmesan, onion granules and remaining ½ teaspoon of salt. Either use a fork to mix gently in a small bowl or put the whole lot into a jar and shake vigorously.
- Remove the roasting tray from the oven and add the potato slices to the hot oil – as the slices come into contact with the fat they will sizzle sharply, so be careful. Turn the potatoes in the oil. Ensure you have given the slices as much space as possible; they shouldn’t be overcrowded, as they will steam instead of roast and not crisp up around the edges. Return the tray to the oven and roast the potatoes for 20 minutes, then turn the slices over and roast for another 10 minutes.
- Now to cheese and onionify the potatoes – remove the roasting tray from the oven and sprinkle with the seasoning. Give the slices a quick stir to evenly distribute the seasoning, making sure as much is on the actual potatoes as possible. Pop back in the oven for around 5 minutes. Keep an eye on the potatoes and check they retain their deep golden yellow colour here – you don’t want them to become too bronzed. The purpose of this final blast of heat is only for the seasoning to stick to the spuds.
- Take the tray out of the oven and sprinkle the cheese and onion chips with a gentle flurry of sea salt flakes. Leave to cool for a minute before gobbling them up in all their golden wonder.