Microwave Potato Chips — Really!

I made these in the microwave. Really!

I like to think of myself as a glass-half-full kind of gal.

I tend to have a sunny demeanor. I try to accentuate the positive even in the most grave of situations. And I’m optimistic that one can do anything one sets one’s mind to — or at the very least get darn close to it.

But when I stumbled upon a recipe early last year in Eating Well magazine for making potato chips in the microwave, I balked. I was a disbeliever. I was convinced this was beyond impossible.

I was wrong.

As part of the Reheat Anything Generation, I knew full well from experience that foods heated or cooked in the microwave most often turned out soft and limp, not crunchy.

So how could thinly sliced potatoes end up crackling crisp? Seriously?

They not only do, but they also possess a purity of flavor — of real, fresh potatoes. Unlike so many store-bought bags of potato chips with their long list of ingredients, there are just three in these: potatoes, olive oil and salt.

Plus, there’s no heating up a vat of oil or turning on a hot oven to make these.

The recipe calls for cutting up the potatoes into 1/8-inch slices. This makes a fairly sturdy, thick chip. I actually preferred using a mandolin to make almost paper-thin potato slices that are even crispier and more delicate.

For thicker chips, cut potatoes into 1/8-inch slices like these. For thinner chips, use a mandolin.

Toss with olive oil, and salt. Coat a microwave-safe plate with spray oil, then spread a single layer of potatoes on the plate. Nuke, turn the potatoes over, and nuke again. That’s it. As they come off the hot plate and start to cool, they will crisp up even more. Indeed, they were still crispy the next day, too.

The beauty of this technique is that if you have just one forlorn potato lying around the kitchen, you can cut it up and make just enough crisp chips to enjoy with your sandwich. I’m thinking this would make a fun cocktail nibble, too. Amaze your friends by showing them how you can make potato chips emerge hot and snappy from the microwave. They’ll think you a magician.

I’m still a glass-half-full gal. But when it comes to this recipe, I’ve become a bowl-totally-empty gal. I couldn’t eat just one, after all. Neither will you. I promise.

Microwave Potato Chips

(makes 4 servings, 12-14 chips each)

1 1/3 pounds Yukon Gold or red potatoes, unpeeled, scrubbed

2 teaspoons or so of extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

Cooking spray

Slice potatoes into 1/8-inch rounds for thicker potato chips. For thinner ones, use a mandolin to cut very thin slices. Toss slices in a medium bowl with oil and salt to coat evenly.

Coat a large microwave-proof plate with cooking spray. Arrange some potato slices in a single layer on the plate. Microwave, uncovered, on High until some slices start to brown, 2 to 3 minutes (depending upon potato thickness and microwave power). Turn slices over (they will be hot, so take care with your fingers) and continue microwaving until they start to crisp and brown around the edges, about 35 seconds for very thin potato slices to 2 to 4 minutes for thicker slices. Check frequently and rearrange slices as needed to prevent scorching. Transfer chips to another plate and allow to cool completely. (They will crisp up more as they cool.) Repeat process with remaining slices.

Storage: Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Per serving: 141 calories; 2 g fat (0 g saturated; 2 g monosaturated); 0 mg cholesterol; 26 g carbohydrate; 3 g protein; 2 g fiber; 291 mg sodium; 807 mg potassium. Nutrition bonus: Potassium (27 percent daily value)

Adapted from a recipe published in EatingWell, January/February 2009

More Microwave Magic: Make English Muffin Bread In Your Microwave

More Cooking Fun: Making Chinese Steamed Buns from Pillsbury Biscuit Dough

And: Making Your Own Preserved Lemons

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