Thinly cut beets are sweet, earthy, and crisp when fried like potato chips. Serve them the same day they are made, sprinkled with coarse sea salt or fleur de sel. I've also been known to add just a cayenne to the mix for a sweet and spicy snack that is popular in my house.
Note that red, striped, chiogga, or golden beets can all be used just as easily, and prettily, as more common red beets (see Types of Beets for more info).
- 1 quart vegetable or canola oil
- 3 medium beets
- Coarse sea salt or fleur de sel (optional)
- In a large, wide pot heat the oil to 375F (oil should be about 1 inch deep). Measure the temperature with a candy thermometer, or guesstimate it by dipping in the handle of a wooden spoon: the oil should bubble up around the handle immediately. If it doesn't bubble up right away, it's still too cold; if it bubbles up violently, however, or splatter, it's too hot.
- Meanwhile, peel the beets and slice them as thinly and evenly as possible. A kitchen mandoline is useful, but not necessary. A sharp knife and steady hand will do the trick just fine.
- Place a cooling rack over a baking sheet near the stove (to drain the beet chips after cooking).
- Slip about a third of the beet slices into the oil, being careful not to crowd the pot. They should sizzle briskly when first put in the oil (if they don't, they oil isn't hot enough—remove the beets and bring the oil up to 375°F), the sizzling will slow down as they cook. Fry until the sizzling slows and the beets are cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes depending on how thickly they're cut. (Tip: they won't crisp up until they cool off, so if you go to test one, you're looking to make sure it's cooked through and basically tender to the bite, not crisped up). With a slotted spoon or tongs remove the beets and drain them on the cooling rack. The chips will crisp up as they cool. Repeat with the remaining beet slices.
- Sprinkle the chips with salt, if you like. Serve at room temperature.
Beet chips, like most fried things, are by far the best when eaten on the same day as they are made. That said, you can store beet chips in an air-tight container (a tin works beautifully) for a few days (actual time will depend on the humidity in your area—more humidity means less crispy chips).