Up your chip game with these indulgent homemade Potato and Zucchini Chips with Bacon, Gorgonzola, and Thyme. Perfect for year-round entertaining! Inspired by Fresco by Scotto.
With the Big Game only five days away, it’s probably not the best time to admit that I’m not much of a football fan. Baseball? Love it. Golf and tennis? Watch all the time. Football and I are kind of like distant acquaintances who send each other Christmas cards once a year. I watch, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say that the commercials and party snacks bring me infinitely more joy than the game itself (and not necessarily in that order). “Touchdown? Hurrah! Pass the chips.” This year, I’ll be diving into a platter of crispy homemade potato and zucchini chips, topped with melted gorgonzola, crumbled bacon, and thyme. If you’re going to blow your healthy eating habits on a good, old-fashioned game watch feast one day out of the year, you’d might as well go for the trophy!
If you’ve never had homemade chips, I’ll let you in on a secret: they’re relatively easy to make, and there’s nothing in the world like them. Even the best bagged kettle variety can’t hold a candle to the deliciousness of a thin, crispy chip hot out of the fryer. On their own, a bowl of homemade potato chips with just a sprinkling of sea salt are a guaranteed touchdown. A few years ago, I started taking a play from the book of New York’s Fresco by Scotto, adding zucchini chips and crumbled Gorgonzola. Then, one day when I was making them, I realized that I had some leftover bacon in the fridge (I know, I know, leftover bacon? What’s that?). I cooked it crisp, crumbled it over the chips, and added some chopped thyme leaves for a pop of freshness. One bite and my friends were hailing these chips as the MVP of our feast.
For the best chips, a few things are “musts.” First, unless you have other-worldly knife skills (which, I do not), you’ll need a mandoline to make thin, even cuts. You can also use a thin slicing disc on a food processor. The mandoline doesn’t need to be fancy. I know professional chefs who have sworn by perfectly respectable handheld slicers that cost as little as $10 – $15. Since the blades are very sharp, I recommend buying a model that comes with a food pusher for safety, especially if you’ve never used a mandoline before. If you’re only looking to make potato chips, a straight-blade model is great. If you think you might want to expand to slicing softer foods like tomatoes, consider a V-blade.
You’ll also need a candy thermometer, unless you’re using a deep fryer with automatic temperature control. A “spider” (handled mesh basket strainer) makes easy work of removing the chips from the oil. Other than that, a roll of paper towels, a frying vessel, a baking pan, and a willpower of steel to keep from eating the chips as you’re making them, are the only other tools you need.
The potato chips are best enjoyed the day they’re made, but if you hold off on the Gorgonzola and bacon, they can be stored overnight in an airtight container. They won’t be quite as amazing the next day, but will still be edible. (I don’t find that the zucchini chips keep as well. Better to fry them when you’re going to eat them.) A platter of these chips is not only great for game watch parties, but also for summer entertaining, New Year’s Eve, and really just any time you’re serving a group of hungry friends. Carb overloading at its finest!
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Potato and Zucchini Chips with Bacon, Gorgonzola, and Thyme
Peanut oil is great for deep frying due to its high smoking point and neutral flavor. It is important to note that many people have peanut allergies. Make sure you tell your guests if you’ve used peanut oil. If allergies are a concern, use vegetable oil.
- 2 pounds russet potatoes
- 1 pound zucchini
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 2 quarts peanut oil (or other neutral frying oil, such as vegetable)
- 1 cup crumbled Gorgonzola (or your favorite Blue cheese)
- 5 strips crisp-cooked bacon, crumbled
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
- flaked sea salt or kosher salt
Rinse and peel potatoes. Use a mandoline (or a thin slicing blade on a food processor) to cut potatoes into 1/16-inch thick rounds. Immediately transfer potato slices to a bowl of cold water. Set aside.
Cut zucchini into rounds of the same thickness. Toss with the all-purpose flour. Set aside.
Drain potato slices and dry thoroughly between layers of paper towels.*
In a deep, heavy-bottomed pot (I use my Dutch oven with a candy thermometer), heat oil to 350 degrees F. Fry potatoes in small batches, frequently moving slices around with a "spider" tool until golden brown and crisp, 2-3 minutes. Remove from oil, and drain on a paper-towel lined baking sheet. Immediately sprinkle with a pinch or two of salt (remember that the cheese and bacon will add saltiness to the plated chips). Reheat oil to 350 degrees and repeat until all potatoes are fried.
Repeat the frying, draining, and salting process with the zucchini, carefully dropping the rounds one at a time into the oil so they don't stick together. Be careful not to overcook the zucchini; when too dark, they become bitter.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. When chips are cool, transfer to a large baking sheet. Top with crumbled Gorgonzola and bake just until cheese is melted, about 5 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with crumbled bacon and chopped thyme. Serve immediately.
*Dry potato slices are key for safe frying and crisp chips. Water and oil don't get along, and wet slices will be prone to splattering. Don't skip this step!