Saturday, 26 November 2011

Chips that can't be Beet?

"Patatini" di Barbabietola Multi-Colorata
Multicolored Beetroot Chips

Are those the craziest looking chips that you ever have seen- or what?? And they are neither deep-fried, nor are they made of potatoes... Nope, these tasty, oven-roasted chips are made of beetroot- and probably the strangest and most wonderful looking beet roots I have ever come across!

Whilst checking out the produce at the Frankfurt Kleinmarkthalle today, I noticed one of these wonderful stripy vegetables and just had to know what it was. The friendly and jovial vendor, Franz Olbrich, took great pleasure in explaining to me that it was indeed a rather uncommon variety of beetroot. He then disappeared to the back of his stall and returned with another beet, that he had cut in half. It too, from the outside, looked like a typical dark red beetroot. He handed it to me and told me to take a sniff with my eyes closed and tell him what it was. I said "beetroot of course" and then opened my eyes and was confronted by the dazzling yellow you see below. Could I resist buying a couple?!! Did it take long for me to think of some dish to make with them? of course NOT!

 I decided that I didn't want to "cook" them, as they have such a wonderful look to them, I didn't want to lose the intensity of the color or the simplicity of their nice sweet and earthy flavor. Thus the idea of the chips. That I am cautious with cooking with fat will explain the fact that I baked them in the oven, rather than deep frying them.

The one step I did take, was to VERY BRIEFLY "blanche" them before baking, for 20-30 seconds only and then dry them off. This helps to reduce their moisture content a little and will help to make crispier chips.

 I lightly oiled a baking tray with olive oil and lay out the slices in equal spaces and baked them for 2-3 minutes, until brown from either side. Yes it is easy- but you DO have to be there all of the time and to keep your eyes on them... or they WILL burn! I had to sacrifice a couple myself- but it is doable and you can get it to work just fine!

As a seasoning, I "invented" another of my flavored salts- this time made of coarse sea salt, fennel and cumin seeds, a little chili, a little sugar, a little citrus zest and a lot of elbow power as I ground it all up with my mortar and pestle! Ugh! But the result was pretty delicious and worked wonderfully with the beets!

I am not going to lie and tell you that they are as crispy as potato chips- but they are as delicious and they are colorful and easy to make... and I may well make them again!

Thanks again Franz Olbrich!

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