Here’s another one to file away under “bar snacks for overachievers.” That's not to say this recipe is complicated or even time-consuming. But it does require some skill to fry root vegetables until they're perfectly crisp. And that requires a mandolin for cutting the vegetables the right thickness. Plus, if you've never been in a homebrew shop, now's your chance, because you're not going to find hop pellets anywhere else. But we hope you find that inspiring, not challenging.
Does it seem odd to put hops on chips? When we dreamed up this recipe, we thought it might. But after testing it out, we found the bitter, almost grassiness from the hops was a perfect foil to earthy root vegetables. The salty and pungent hop dust is cuts through the rich and sweet chips.
Hop Dusted Root Veggie Chips
1 sweet potato
1 russet potato
1 parsnip, as thick as possible
1 yucca root
1 celery root
1 large beet
vegetable oil for deep-frying
1 teaspoon hops pellets (see note)
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/4 teaspoon granulated onion
Note: It doesn't really matter what hops you use. We used UK Golding, because it's what we had on hand. But we suggest browsing your local homebrew shop or online supplier to find a hops you think sounds interesting.
First make your hop dust. Using a small spice or coffee grinder, pulse all ingredients until fully powdered and combined. Pour into a clean, dry container and set aside. Keep in mind that hop dust is salty, strong, and, well, hoppy. Use with caution.
Peel your assorted root vegetables. Using a mandolin set to just less than 1/8”, make thin slices of a variety of root vegetables and store them in cold water. Unless you're throwing a Barbie-themed party (no judgements from us), segregate the beets to their own bowl of cold water to avoid turning everything hot pink.
Heat the vegetable oil in a large, heavy saucepan or a deep fryer to 365F. Drain the vegetable slices and pat them dry with paper towels. Working in batches so as not to overcrowd the pan, drop the vegetable slices into the hot oil, making sure to separate them as they fall into the oil to avoid having stuck-together clumps. When the chips are floating and lightly browned, scoop them out using a spider and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with a very small amount of hop dust while the chips are still hot. Eat ASAP, preferably with a refreshing pale ale with a hop character that compliments the hops in the chips. (If the chips sit around, they may not stay crispy. This is not usually a problem, except for the more watery vegetables, like the beets.)
TROUBLESHOOTING: If your oil temperature drops too much, your chips will soak up oil and be very soggy. If this is happening, turn up the heat and allow a few minutes for the oil to come up to temp. If your oil is too hot, the chips will brown too much before they are fully fried. Vegetables with a higher sugar content (beets and parsnips, for example) will brown faster, so try lowering the temperature slightly to allow them to fry for long enough without getting too brown.