Saturday, December 15, 2018


When I shop at a big hipermercado down on the Coast, I'm on the lookout for foods and products that I don’t normally find in the village market—kale and quail, venison and violet potatoes. In the snack section, I discovered vegetable chips cooked with olive oil. I always grab a bag of them, to nosh on the drive home. 

The chips are made with beets, carrots, parsnips and purple potatoes. Something about the salty-sweetness of those vegetables makes them addictive. But the little pack is expensive. Why not make these chips at home? They’re perfect with a party dip.

Crispy vegetable chips with a creamy goat cheese dip.

Snack-pack of veggie chips from the hypermarket.

Because potato chips are fried, I supposed that beet and parsnip chips were fried too. I sliced my vegetables paper-thin (by hand, as I don’t have a mandoline) and heated a pan of olive oil. I fried each vegetable (beets, carrots, parsnips, purple potatoes and rutabaga) separately until golden, then drained the chips on a rack.

Fail! They were not crisp. The next day I spread them on a baking sheet and baked them in the oven (300ºF/10 minutes). This crisped the chips a lot. Still, why bother frying if baking does the trick?

Back to the drawing board. Happy to report, my baked chips with olive oil and sea salt turned out great.

Crispy, baked beet chips. They're sweet and salty, with a hint of olive oil. 

Headed for the chipper! Clockwise from upper left, rutabaga (nabo sueco or "Swede"), beets (remolachas), carrots (zanahorias), purple potatoes (patatas violetas) and parsnips (chirivías). Also good for making chips are taro, plantain, sweet potatoes, turnips.

If you don't have a mandoline slicer, use a vegetable peeler to shave thin strips from parsnips and carrots. 

Cut a slice off one side of the vegetable so it has a firm base on the cutting board. Aim for "paper thin"--1/16 inch. Shown are purple potatoes. Aren't they pretty?

A serrated knife works well for slicing beets, potatoes and rutabaga. 

Place each batch of sliced vegetables separately in a bowl and toss them with enough olive oil to coat them. Spread them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Place in preheated oven (325ºF with turbo/fan or 350ºF without fan). Bake 5 minutes and flip the slices over. Continue baking until they are golden and crisped. Time varies with each vegetable. Parsnip chips baked 12 minutes total; beets baked 20 minutes total. Expect the vegetable chips to shrink quite a lot in baking.

Baked chips can be stored in an air-tight container for up to two days. If necessary to crisp them up before serving, spread them on a baking sheet and place in preheated oven at 250ºF for 5-10 minutes.

Chip Dip
Salsa para Hortalizas Curruscantes

Chip dip is made with fresh goat cheese, seasoned with smoked pimentón

This dip starts with fresh, soft goat’s cheese (queso fresco de cabra). If not available use a log of French chêvre, Greek feta or Mexican soft cotija. Taste the dip before seasoning with salt, as the substitute cheeses may be saltier than Spanish queso fresco. Pimentón de la Vera--smoked paprika, either sweet or hot--is the main flavouring. Frying whole cloves of garlic gives them a mellow flavour.

Fresh, soft goat cheese.

6 cloves garlic, unpeeled
Oil for frying
½ cup soft goat cheese or queso fresco
¼ cup Greek yogurt
½ teaspoon hot pimentón de la Vera (smoked paprika)
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Sherry vinegar

Whole, fried cloves of garlic.

Lightly crush the cloves of garlic, just sufficiently to split the skins. Heat the oil in small skillet and fry the cloves of garlic until golden. Remove. When they are cool, slip off the skins.

Place the skinned garlic in a mini food processor with the cheese, yogurt, pimentón, cumin, salt and vinegar. Blend to make a smooth dip.

The dip keeps, covered and refrigerated, up to 5 days.

I´m thinking I'll buy myself a mandoline for Christmas and make a batch of vegetable chips every time I turn on the oven.

More recipes with beets:
Waldorf Salad with Beets.
Roasted Beet Salad with Grapefruit.
Moroccan Beet Salad.

More recipes with parsnips:
Savory Parsnip Upside-Down Cake.
Roasted Root Vegetables with Quince.

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