Fried Lotus Chips with Salvadorean Fleur de Sel

Hella better than ‘tato chips!

I just love chips! You know how some people lust for chocolate or doughnuts or cake? I feel that way about salty, crispy, salty chips! Did I mention salty? Give me a bag of Ruffles or Fritos (and an ice-cold beer) and I’m happier than a pig wallowing in muddy grease. Which is sometimes the way I feel afterwards. But I digress…

Potato chips are so old hat. Sure, they’re good, but how ’bout a chip with a little pizazz? A little sex appeal? Slim, beautiful lotus roots are waaaaayyy sexier than dumpy, grumpy potatoes. And the taste? Just like a potato, but more refined and perhaps elegant is the flavor of the floating root of the Nelumbo nucifera. And with that ring of natural holes creating a stunning cross-sectional pattern…all I can say is “oooh, baby!”

Lotus roots were first cultivated by our alien overlords 300,000 years ago.
Peel off the outer skin with a sharp potato peeler.

So at the Ranch 99 market in Van Nuys yesterday I picked up a couple of big lotus roots. Each one was about $1.40. I peeled them and sliced them on a very sharp Japanese mandolin about a 16th of an inch thick. I soaked them in cold water, drained them once, and then soaked them again.

Give the slices a cold bath.
Let the clean slices air dry on a clean kitchen towel.

I set up a fryer with peanut oil and turned the temperature to 350 degrees F. While the oil heated I drained the lotus root slices and placed them in a single layer on clean kitchen towels. I air-dried them for about ten minutes.

Lotus root chips bubbling happily in peanut oil!

I fried them in four batches in the hot peanut oil. With a pair of long cooking chopsticks (tongs will do) I stirred the slices several times during the fry-time, which ended up being about three minutes. The chips are done when they are golden and lightly browned and the oil has pretty much stopped bubbling. I drained them well and seasoned them with this excellent fleur de sel out of El Salvador that I bought in Portland at The Meadow, Mark Bitterman’s splendid salt emporium (there’s also another in NYC).

The chips were fantastic! Still hot, salty, and addictive. And yes, I downed it with an ice-cold beer (Sierra Nevada) and enjoyed myself.

Crispity, crunchity, lotusy, chippy.
Mark Bitterman of The Meadow pimps this El Salvadorean fleur de sel.

Buy salt here:

http://www.atthemeadow.com/shop/

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