Though this isn’t the post I was hoping to get to you today, it’s a helluva way to bide the time. I mean who doesn’t like chips? And chips made with local roots? Forget about it.
These bad boys are totally my kind of chips. Sure I had to stand at the stove, frying batch after batch but damn was it worth it. Besides, have you seen the price of vegetable chips? 5 bucks a bag just isn’t in my budget. What is, however, is the plethora of roots grown in Nova Scotia. We’ve got carrots, beets, sweet potatoes, potatoes, celeriac, sunchokes, and, my new fav, parsley root. I first saw parsley root at my all time favourite market stand, Hutten’s Family Farm in the Historic Brewery Market. I’m constantly gushing over their variety and this is no different. Hell, I generally have to ask what many of the vegetables are. It certainly makes for one exciting Saturday morning, never knowing what new local delicacy I’ll come home with. And parsley root? Big winner. It reminds me a lot of celeriac with parsley notes thrown in. A touch bitter, highly aromatic and almost nutty, I was instantly smitten. You could pretty much use it anyway you would celeriac or potatoes for that matter or just follow suit and get your deep fry on.
Listen, I’m not saying go to the nearest big box store and get yourself a deep fryer. What I am saying is that this is the perfect example of how so called ‘bad’ foods can fit into your everyday. Yes, I ate deep fried chips for supper alongside a hot dog. An all pork, no preservative, no mechanically separated “parts” hot dog but a processed hot dog all the same. The difference is that we don’t eat like this everyday. Mornings start with oatmeal and fresh juices like today’s grapefruit, apple, beet, carrot, ginger deliciousness. We eat meat but a few times a week. Greens are always in the fridge. Salads are our jam. So one dinner of deep fried goodness isn’t going to make us feel anything other than satisfied. There is also a deeper connection and perhaps a respect that comes from making the food ourselves.
It seems quite fitting that yesterday was also No Diet Day. Recognized around the world, it’s a day to celebrate diversity and acceptance of all bodies. It’s a day to say goodbye to diets and instead welcome a healthy balanced approach to living. I think our lives – from the decadent desserts to the salads full of raw crunchy local vegetables – are balanced. Sure we go through times of overindulgence or imbalance but it doesn’t take long before our bodies tell us to get our act together. I think a big factor for us is that we rarely eat processed food. It’s no big secret that processed foods are laden with sugar, salt and chemicals. Though I’m no scientist, I’d wager a guess that the obesity crisis – and make no mistake there is one – is a war waged by the food giants and processed food is their weapon of choice. We need to take back our food and bring hope to the millions of Canadians battling obesity. It’s a complex issue and I’m certainly not saying I have all the answers. What I do know is that we need to eat real food, you know actual fruits and vegetables. We need to get back in the kitchen. Maybe we’re not going to start with deep fried vegetable chips but having to make those snacks yourself is a sure fire way to eat less of them isn’t it.
It seems a little crazy to write an actual recipe for this so here’s the deal. First, thinly slice those root vegetables. Obviously I used my mandolin for the fastest prep of all time. Peel or no peel is entirely up to you. I more often than not leave the peel on because I happen to like fiber. Now, get yourself a jug of oil, something with a higher smoke point than say olive oil. We even strain and save our deep fry oil for the next use. You’ll need enough to fill whatever pot you use a couple of inches. Hopefully, you have a thermometer because the easiest way to know when that oil is ready is by temperature. Ideally, you start frying around 350-375. Place some chips in – a few handfuls, don’t overcrowd – and cook til crisp. I can’t tell you the exact time because each root will be different. If you’re unsure, simply try one. Drain on some paper towel and fry the next batch. Season with a little sea salt and that’s pretty much it. If you’re a chips n’ dip fan, forgo the grocery store crap and whip one up yourself. It can be as easy as yogurt, lemon zest, and a pile of chopped green onions. If you want something with more punch, the Food Wife recently posted a recipe for sunchoke chips with a chunky blue cheese aioli. I knew we were meant to be together.
I should also remind you to be safe. Deep frying isn’t for the weary. Things can quickly get out of hand if you’re not careful. If you’re scared, perhaps roasted roots are more your thing.