No question about Heston

In Recipes on July 12, 2011 at 4:35 am

Love him or loathe him there is no doubt that Heston Blumenthal has a passion for food.  When he is testing for his television series – sampling such gut churning ingredients as bulls testicles and lamprey spinal chords –  he may be considered the culinary equivalent of Man Vs Wild’s Bear Grylls but he is not all about shocking his viewers.  I first became interested in him because I have an abiding interest in food history.  Obviously Heston does too, remember the cockentrice, a mythical meat monster that might have been quite at home on Henry VIII’s table or the ‘meat fruit’ made from the aforementioned bulls testicles – feminist academic Germaine Greer appeared to enjoy eating these a little too much!  It seems that Royal courts and aristocratic households of the past liked a joke.  Food was theater and due to the large number of servants the upper classes maintained they were able to create this sort of food trickery on a regular basis.

When I approached the idea of cooking one of Heston’s dishes myself I was looking for something a little more accessible so I thought I would give his thrice cooked chips a go.  He uses Maris Piper potatoes which are readily available in the UK but impossible to find here in Australia.  I did some research and found that the closest approximation here was the good old Desiree that is available in every supermarket these days.  The chips were a bit of a process but I can honestly say that the resulting chips were the best I have ever tasted.

Heston's chips

Crunchy on the outside, fluffy on the inside

Heston’s Thrice Cooked Chips*


1.2kg Desiree potatoes

2-3 litres peanut oil (I used much less and fried mine in batches in a wok, just make sure you have enough to cover)

sea salt


Wash and peel the potatoes, then cut them into chips about 1.5cm thick.  When cut, place them in a large bowl for 2-3 minutes under cold running water to rinse off some of the starch.  Drain.  Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil, add the chips, bring back to the boil and then simmer until the potatoes are soft.  It is important to make sure the simmer is gentle so that the potatoes don’t start to fall apart before they are cooked through.   Using a slotted spoon, carefully lift the potatoes out of the water and place on a cake rack.  Leave to cool and then put in the fridge until cold (the dry air of the fridge removes excess moisture from the chips via evaporation).  Pour enough oil to cover the chips into a deep-fat fryer (or, if doing in batches, enough to cover the chips in a wok) and heat it to 130c.  A good way to check the temperature if you don’t have a thermometer is to insert the handle of a wooden spoon into the oil, if bubbles form around the handle the oil is hot enough.  Plunge in the chips and allow them to cook until they take on a dry appearance and are slightly coloured.  Remove the chips and drain.  Allow to cool on a cake rack then return to the fridge until cold.  Reheat the peanut oil to 190c (I just made it a little hotter than the earlier frying, you can test by observing the ferocity of the bubbles around the wooden spoon handle).  Plunge in the chips and cook until golden brown.  This may take about 8-10 minutes.  Season with sea salt and serve immediately.

*I have made some modifications to suit the home cook

Best chips I've ever had

  1. I just sat down at my computer to find an Australian equivalent to Maris Piper potatoes for just the same reason and found you had done the research for me. Many thanks!

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