If you think the recipes on this blog are a window into what I eat in my daily life, you’re sorely mistaken. Sure, there are dishes that work their way into my weekly rotation. But no I’m certainly not hand pleating dumplings on a Tuesday night. I want the food that appears on this blog to be special. ‘Company’s coming’ kind of food. Or ‘I feel like puttering around and being cozy in the kitchen’ kind of meals. So, when I call for deep frying, please believe this is not an everyday occurrence in our house. I don’t do it effortlessly on a daily basis. So yeah, I don’t ask you to deep fry something lightly. But when I do call for it in a recipe, you best believe it’s for a good reason and these Za’atar Potato Chips are a VERY good reason.
The Chip’s the Thing
There are few things as universally loved as chips and dip. A snack adored by omnivores, vegetarians and vegans alike. And while I may not have a scientific answer as to why most humans have an affinity for this salty treat, it’s clear we really like dunking crispy things into gooey saucy things. Whether you’re deep in a love affair with salsa or, like me, powerless before Ruffles and onion dip, we are united in this hunger for chips and dip. It’s kind of beautiful, isn’t it? Well, it is if you’re me.
With such a hallowed place in our universal heart, I think chips deserve a little respect. And what I mean by ‘respect’ is they don’t deserve to be baked. I think when you get a super-specific craving, you should listen to it. Don’t try to placate it with lower-fat options, it will just eat at you. No disc of roasted potato will make you forget that what you want is a potato chip. An honest to God potato chip. You’re just delaying the inevitable and inhaling more carbs in the process.
The Heart Wants What it Wants
When I dreamed up these Za’atar Potato Chips, I was in the throes of a serious chip craving. It’s grey, it’s cold, it’s February – carbs are about the only thing I have going for me right now. So why fight it? Life is short and chips are made to be eaten.
A little while ago I made a pact with Sunny that if we ever experienced a craving for a specific junk food we had to contemplate making it ourselves first in order to measure how badly you wanted something. If you were willing to exert yourself for it, you clearly really want it so go for it. It sort of works. We don’t eat as much junk when it requires more effort than simply schlepping our way to our local convenience store. This pact doesn’t work 25-30% of the time but hey, we’re just looking for improvement, not perfection.
So, when that intense chip craving hit, I did a gut check. Was I really willing to heat a vat of oil and deal with the hassle and clean up that comes with such an activity? Yes, yes I was. It was clear, chips we’re in fact needed more than merely wanted. The dip came about because I figured if I was going to go through all the trouble of making homemade potato chips, I might as well make a homemade dip to go with them. As the saying goes, “Don’t just eat a hamburger, eat the hell out of it!”. Happy to oblige.
Desperately Seeking Dip for Za’atar Potato Chips
Since I had settled on Za’atar Potato Chips, my mind initially landed on hummus as my dip of choice. But to be honest, I’d been developing a hummus recipe elsewhere in my life and had more than OD’d on the stuff. So, I turned to my good friend feta instead and I am so glad I did. It clings to the chip in much the same way my beloved onion dip does. And the flavor? Well, let’s just say this dip is no shrinking violet.
On top of its bold personality and general creaminess, this Whipped Feta is impossibly easy to make. It really is as simple as popping everything into a food processor and blitzing. I did drain the dip, in the same manner as labneh, after mixing it but if you choose to skip this step, fear not. The dip does firm up quite a bit in the fridge but I wanted to go that extra mile for maximum creaminess.
When I Dip, You Dip, We Dip
So, that’s pretty much everything you need to know about these Za’atar Potato Chips. They’re a bit labor-intensive but they’re also the best way to show pals you love them. I mean, just think of how you would feel if you showed up at a girlfriend’s house to find homemade potato chips and dip waiting for you. February is the perfect month for at-home get-togethers, so get into it and be a little extra.
Za’atar Potato Chips with Whipped Feta Dip
- Candy Thermometer
Za'atar Potato Chips
- 2 large Russet potatoes scrubbed
- 2 tbsp white vinegar
- 3 tbsp za'atar
- 1 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp granulated sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 437ml (14.7 fl oz) canola oil for deep frying
Whipped Feta Dip
- 200g (7oz) feta cheese cut into chunks
- 1/2 cup Greek Yogurt
- 2 cloves garlic peeled
- 1 lemon juiced
- 1/4 cup chives coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup mint coarsely chopped
- 3 tbsp olive oil
For Za'atar Potato Chips
- Using a mandoline, slice the potatoes into medallions an 1/8 of an inch thick.
- Place the potato slices in a large bowl and cover with cold water. Stir in the white vinegar and leave them to soak for at least 1 hour.
- Place the soaked potato slices in an even layer on a lint-free dishcloth and pat them dry with another dishcloth. You may have to work in batches.
- In a small bowl, whisk to combine the spices. Set aside.
- Pour the canola oil into a large dutch oven and place over high heat. Heat the oil until it registers 350°F on a candy thermometer. Add the potato slices to the oil, roughly 15-20 at a time. Fry until rigid and golden. Transfer the finished fries to a large bowl and add a spoonful of the seasoning. Toss the still-warm chips in the seasoning and transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining potato slices.
- Once the chips are cool, store in a resealable bag until ready to serve.
For the Dip
- Place the feta, yogurt, garlic, lemon juice, chives and mint in a large food processor. Blitz until smooth. Set the food processor to low and slowly stream in the olive oil.
- Arrange 3-4 layers of cheesecloth on top of a medium-sized bowl. Pour the dip into the bowl and gather up the edges of the cheesecloth to form a bundle. Suspend the bundle to drain, I used the my kitchen sink's faucet to do this. Let drain for 1 hour and 30 minutes.
- Once the dip has drained, transfer it to a bowl and place in fridge. Let chill for 30 minutes before serving.