From spicy new flavorings to premium ingredients, potato chips are cashing in on a whole new image these days.
"What's been happening lately is there are more companies pushing interesting recipes," said Jeremy Selwyn, who follows the snack food industry for his Web site at (Taquitos.net).
Chips are packing heat jalapeno and 3-alarm chili flavors are a trend and taking on a sophisticated air; plain Jane salt and vinegar has been reborn as balsamic vinegar and sea salt. Barbecue is as popular as ever, but it's no longer just barbecue. Now it's hickory barbecue, honey barbecue, and so on.
AP Photo - - Five-spice sweet potato, left, and parmesan pepper, right, flavors of dress-your-own potato chips. Making your own potato chips takes this much-loved snack food to a whole new level.
"Whatever crazy flavor you can think of, someone will try to make a chip out of it someday," Selwyn said.
Do it yourself
Making your own potato chips takes this much-loved snack food to a whole new level. It also lets you add the flavors you like. In this recipe, use Yukon gold, russets or even sweet potatoes. We've added some suggestions for how to season the chips, but the fun is in experimenting with your own combinations.
Soaking the potato slices briefly in salted water helps release the starches from the potatoes, which ensures they will fry up crisp. Just be sure to pat them dry before frying. Note that sweet potatoes will take longer to fry than the other varieties, about 5 to 7 minutes per batch.
Be sure to prepare your seasoning blends before you fry the potatoes. You want it ready as soon as the chips come out of the oil.
Dress-your-own Potato Chips
Start to finish: 45 minutes. Serves 6.
4 medium potatoes
2 tablespoons kosher salt
4 cups peanut or canola oil
Using a mandolin, food processor or a very sharp knife, slice the potatoes into very thin rounds. Be sure to slice them as evenly as possible. Rinse the potatoes under cool running water.
Place the slices in a large bowl, then add enough cool water to cover. Add the salt, stir to dissolve, then let sit for 30 minutes.
When ready to cook the chips, place the oil in a large saucepan. Heat over medium until the oil reaches 325 F.
Drain the potatoes and, working in batches, use a towel to pat the slices dry. Carefully add a quarter of the slices to the oil and fry until golden brown, about 3 to 5 minutes depending on the thickness of your slices. Use a slotted spoon to remove the potatoes from the oil and set on a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Sprinkle with one of the following seasoning blends (or your own), then serve.
+ Truffle-Herb: Drizzle the potato chips with 2 teaspoons truffle oil, then sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt mixed with 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme and 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary.
+ Five-Spice: Mix 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon five-spice powder and 1 tablespoon powdered sugar.
+ Chocolate: Mix 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder and 1 tablespoon powdered sugar. Also can add a pinch of cinnamon and a pinch of cayenne.
+ Parmesan Pepper: Drizzle the potato chips with 1 tablespoon melted ghee, then sprinkle with 2 tablespoons powdered (canned) Parmesan cheese mixed with 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper.