Following a method pioneered by Heston Blumenthal the geniuses at Hawksmoor Restaurant cook their chips three times. It sounds like a complicated process, but the results – perfectly crisp chips with a soft fluffy interior – are well worth the effort. They do the two final cooks in beef dripping which adds a subtle meatiness, perfect for having alongside a chargrilled steak. Here's their tips on how to do it:
1. Peel 300g of Maris Pipers per person and cut them into even-sized wedges (we usually get 8 wedges from a potato, depending on size). Place in a bowl under cold running water for a couple of minutes to rinse off some of the starch.
2. Drain the wedges and put them in a pan of cold salted water. Bring to the boil and simmer very gently for 6–7 minutes, or until the potato is almost cooked. This starts to break down the surface of the potato, creating fissures that increase the surface area (making for more crispy exterior). Be careful, a couple of minutes too long and the potatoes will start to disintegrate, resulting in potato soup.
3. Carefully drain the potatoes and tip into a large roasting tin. Let them air dry for 5 minutes or so and then gently shake the tin to ‘chuff’ the potatoes and rough up the edges (if they are on the verge of disintegration then skip this part). Leave to cool and place in the fridge until you’re ready to use them.
4. Heat 3 to 4 kg of clarified beef dripping to 130°C/266°F in an electric fryer. Fry the chips in batches for 3–4 minutes or until the oil stops bubbling and they are beginning to turn pale golden. This removes moisture and prevents waterlogged interior. Remove the chips from the fat, drain and tip onto kitchen paper. Leave to cool and place in the fridge again.
5. Turn the heat on the fryer up to 190°C/375°F and fry the chips in batches for another 3–4 minutes until crisp and golden. Drain on kitchen paper, sprinkle with salt and shake malt vinegar over the top.
Hawksmoor at Home (Preface, £25), by Huw Gott, Will Beckett and Richard Turner, out now.