03 January 2013

Baked Vegetable Chips

BeetPost & Photos from Elizabeth Miller who writes a great blog at Savory Salty, Sweet. 

As a natural born snacker, there are few things I find more enjoyable than the holiday season and its ever-present array of bites and nibbles. It’s no secret that my favorite type of food is many tiny foods served in not-so-tiny quantities, so holiday parties, with their tables of snacks and platters of tiny bites, are sort of like my own personal holiday miracle. I get to eat chips, guacamole, and five different types of baby quiche for dinner? Oh, holy night!

Though I admit that it is kind of a bummer to have to think about healthfulness at a time like this (such as yesterday when, in the name of Christmas vacation, I ate popcorn and ice cream for lunch), it can’t be ignored that, after a few weeks of ingesting enough butter to make a croissant narrow its eyes at you, even the snackiest of people begin to crave foods that are a little lighter on the arteries. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I still want to snack all day while I am remorsing over the fact that fully one-third of my body is now comprised of heavy cream, but my snacking tends to take on a gentler tone.

Though I make these baked vegetable chips as a welcome counterpoint to holiday excess, they, with their salty crispness and comforting carbohydrate content, never take on an aura of atonement. You can make these chips with whatever root vegetable you have lying around—parsnips, large carrots, beets, sweet potatoes—and they all, when sliced ultra thin, take on the same fantastic crunch and satisfying, olive oil-infused flavor. Though I like my vegetable chips adorned with little more than a pinch of sea salt and a dash of black pepper, there is nothing keeping you from spicing these up as you see fit, adding a bit of crushed Aleppo pepper, a dose of garam masala, or a dusting of za’atar.

Baked Vegetable Chips

2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil

2 large beets (or sweet potatoes, parsnips, etc.)

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.After

Using a mandoline slicer or an ultra-sharp knife, slice your root vegetable into paper thin slices (and I am talking flimsy, super thin, see-though slices here). In a large bowl, toss the vegetable slices with enough olive oil to coat every slice, but not drown the vegetables. Arrange the vegetable slices in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet (you will not be able to fit all of your slices on at once, so be prepared to bake several batched of chips, depending on how many vegetables you sliced), sprinkle with salt and pepper, then bake in the center of the oven for 15 minutes. Turn each vegetable slice over and continue baking for another 10 or 15 minutes, until the slices are crisply golden, curled at the edges, and sizzling. Remove vegetable chips to a paper towel to drain off any excess oil. Allow the chips to cool for a few minutes before eating (this allows them to become even crisper and crunchier).