Windowpane sweet potato chips
I was preparing to make sweet potato chips, with a pile of herbs on the cutting board (some freshly picked from my winter herb garden — cilantro, thyme, sage, mint, rosemary). They were so pretty — too pretty to mince as a garnish for the chips, which was the original plan. I laid a cilantro leaf on one potato slice and, a few adjustments and 30 minutes later, I had these awesome see-thru chips.
I have a cheapy, plastic mandoline, which bends and flexes to the pressure you exert, and produces slices with irregular thicknesses. Stacked, the slices create a Leaning Tower of Sweet Potatoes.
No matter, it’s all very forgiving in the end. And once the chips crisped and ruffled, I completely forgot the slices were imperfect to begin with, so cute was the outcome. So, you shouldn’t worry about it either.
Making these in large quantities? Assembly goes very fast when you line things up, factory style: slice the potato, keeping the slices in order, and make a stack. Take two slices from the stack, open them like a book and place them side-by-side on a parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat for as many pairs as will fit on a sheet. Quickly brush the slices with egg whites on the side facing up. Lay an herb leaf in the center of one slice of each pair. Then close the pairs like a book, and press firmly. Brush with olive oil.
The open-book-close-book dance has a purpose: sweet potatoes are irregularly shaped, and keeping the slices together with their neighbors allows for clean alignment of both sizes and edges.
An unexpected benefit to the effort: I was completely tickled by how pronounced and lovely the herb flavor was in these chips. Far more than a simple sprinkling of minced herbs would produce, but not overwhelmingly so. And since I used a mix of herbs, each chip was a different flavor experience, heightened with just the lightest touch of salt.
Windowpane sweet potato chips
Small touches of herbs infuse each sweet potato chip with just the right amount of flavor. A great project to do with your kids – let them assemble the chip window panes (but not the slicing!).
- 1 large sweet potato, scrubbed
- 1 egg white, lightly beaten
- various small herb leaves (cilantro, thyme tips, dill tips, rosemary leaf slivers, tiny sage are all lovely)
- olive oil
- Preheat oven to 350 deg F.
- Slice the potato very, very thinly – using a mandoline is probably easiest (just be careful!). Try to keep the slices in order in which they were sliced, so that they’ll pair up neatly with their neighbor.
- Brush the facing sides of each potato chip pair with egg white. Place a small herb leaf in the center of one slice, then cover with a second slice (egg-white-coated sides together). Press firmly to join the slices together. Repeat with the remaining slices and herb leaves.
- Place the assembled slices in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush the up-facing side of each slice with a thin film of olive oil, and sprinkle lightly with salt.
- Bake for 15-25 minutes. The edges will begin to curl and brown. Remove and allow to cool. (The two slices might separate a bit, but that’s okay – it just adds to the ruffly charm of the chip.)