Fourth of July Food: Red, White, and Blue Chips

Kelly Senyai


Red, white and blue chips for July 4thRed, white and blue chips for July 4thServe up a homemade take on a summertime snack with a recipe for patriotic potato and beet chips, plus tips on the dos and don'ts of deep-frying.

No Fourth of July feast would be complete without crispy, salty chips to pair with your lineup of flame-kissed favorites, including burgers, chicken, seafood, and sides. But we're skipping the store-bought varieties and bringing the oil to a boil for homemade Red, White, and Blue Potato and Beet Chips.

Our recipe combines the classic flavor and crunch of potato chips with the slight sweetness of beet chips. The result is a patriotic snack that's brimming with red, white, and blue spirit-perfect for your Independence Day bash or any summer picnic. So fire up the burners for our Red, White, and Blue Potato and Beet Chips recipe, plus handy technique tips to help you overcome your fear of frying.

Set Up for Success:
It's important to assemble all the necessary ingredients and tools before the first potato takes its plunge into hot oil. Deep-frying is a fast technique, and one that requires you to man the pot at all times, which means there's no downtime to dig through your drawer for a slotted spoon or dash to the pantry for salt. Organize your setup while your oil is heating to the required temperature. Essential equipment includes a deep, heavy-bottomed medium saucepan (or a deep fryer), a deep-fry thermometer, a slotted metal spoon or spider, a paper towel-lined baking sheet, and a small bowl of salt. Arrange the baking sheet near your saucepan so that the food is transferred a minimum distance from the hot oil to where it will drain. Remember to clear all other appliances and equipment away from the stove in the event the oil splatters.

SEE MORE: Indulgent, Delicious Breakfasts

Fry Fast:
Speed is the key to a crispy, deep-fried food that's not bogged down by oil. The faster you can get your item into and out of the boiling oil, the less oil it will absorb and the less greasy it will be. And this is where oil temperature comes into play. The oil has to stay between 350°F and 375°F at all times. This specific temperature range is low enough to allow the food to cook on both the inside and outside without burning, but also hot enough that the food cooks quickly and doesn't become soggy from a prolonged fry time.

Save the Salt for Last:
Seasoning is a critical component of any dish, but when it comes to deep-frying, salt comes second. Never season a food before you deep-fry it, as the salt will immediately draw out any water trapped in the food and cause the oil to splatter. Instead, always salt the food right after it comes out of the oil, as salt sticks best when sprinkled on a hot surface.

SEE MORE: Picnic-Friendly Foods

Red, White, and Blue Potato and Beet Chips

yield: Makes 6 to 8 servings
active time: 25 minutes
total time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

1/2 pound baking potatoes, such as russet or Idaho (about 2 small potatoes)
1/2 pound purple potatoes (about 4 small potatoes)
1/2 pound beets, peeled, and greens removed (about 2 small beets)
6 cups vegetable or canola oil
Kosher or sea salt
Equipment: Mandoline (optional), large baking sheet, deep-fry thermometer

Fill a large bowl with cold water. Using a mandoline or a very sharp knife, slice the baking and purple potatoes into 1/8-inch-thick rounds then transfer to the cold water to soak for 5 minutes. While the potatoes soak, slice the beets into 1/8-inch-thick rounds. Remove the potatoes from the water and transfer them to a paper towel-lined plate, patting them completely dry. Line a large baking sheet with paper towels. Fill a deep, heavy-bottomed medium saucepan (or deep fryer) with 4 inches of oil, leaving at least 3 inches between the oil and the top of the saucepan. Heat the oil over moderately high heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 350°F.

Working in batches, use a slotted metal spoon or spider to carefully place the potato rounds in the hot oil. Fry, flipping as needed, until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer as done to the paper towel-lined baking sheet and immediately season with salt. Continue to fry the remaining potatoes, returning the oil to 350°F between batches.

Once all the potatoes are fried, fry the beets: Working in batches, use a slotted metal spoon or spider to carefully place the beet rounds in the hot oil. Fry, flipping as needed, until they begin to curl around the edges, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer as done to the paper towel-lined baking sheet and immediately season with salt. Continue to fry the remaining beet rounds, returning the oil to 350°F between batches. In a large bowl, toss together the potato and beet chips, season with additional salt if necessary, and serve. DO AHEAD: Potato and beet chips can be fried ahead and stored in an airtight container for 3 days.

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