When it comes to the homely potato, we’re really thoughtless creatures, if you, well, think about it. I don’t know about you, but I’ve plowed my way through a whole bag of Cape Cod Sea Salt and Vinegar Potato Chips (wicked good) without ever really taking the time to consider our Idahoan friends. We’re growing ever so mindful of where our beef, pork, lamb, and even chicken come from, making sure to buy meats from animals that have been humanely treated and kindly…well, you know. But why does the potato—and the Bonnie to its Clyde, the dip—deserve any less?
So before you slide into The Lost Weekend, a 48-hour bash of divine excess (and guys with ridiculous makeup on their faces, although they’re so massively burly, who am I to judge?), won’t you take a moment to ponder the gentle spud and its many dips? If they deserve our respect and admiration any day of the year, it’s Super Bowl Sunday.
Food history editor Gary Allen guides you through the Ricky and Lucy-like history of the dip and chip liaison in the article Dipping into the History of a Super Bowl Favorite. And one of our favorite cookbook authors, Domenica Marchetti, has a twist on the plain ole, plain ole with her recipe for homemade Sea Salt and Rosemary Sweet Potato Chips. Domenica usually sticks with the eponymous seasonings. But on occasion—like, say, Super Bowl Sunday—she tosses the chips with something a little racier. Look at the bottom of the recipe for some of her—and our—favorite variations.
Tarted-Up Store-Bought Potato Chips
Of course, you may not be in the mood to slice and fry your own chips, but that doesn’t mean you can’t play a little Dress Up and serve hot, sizzling spuds straight from the oven. Even the momma of them all, bet-you-can’t-eat-just-one classic Lay’s, can benefit from a cooking buff and fluff. We stumbled upon this brilliant beer-friendly trick in Party Food by Lorna Wing (SOMA, 1998). Think of it as sliced spuds in high heels and fishnets. Sassy, party-loving, and with just the right attitude. But deep down, they’re nothing but a bunch of chippies with a heart.
Even if you’re a thick-cut, kettle-cooked, olive-oil type of muncher, these will win you over. But f you’d rather not douse your chips in butter (but why wouldn’t you—at least for the biggest football game of the year?), you can still improvise toppings. A sprinkling of freshly chopped parsley. A handful of cilantro and some lime zest. Even, maybe, a spritz of finely grated Parmesan cheese and a quick 360 under the broiler? There’s no end to your options.
So here goes: Melt 4 tablespoons of your favorite garlic butter (see below if you’re bereft of a recipe) and drizzle it over 10 ounces of potato chips (preferably thick-cut). Bake them in a 350°F (175°C) oven until fragrant and golden, 4 to 7 minutes. The chips can be tossed with butter several hours ahead of time, then heated at the last minute.
Quick Garlic Butter
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 to 7 teaspoons minced garlic
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a small, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté until the garlic has softened but not browned, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, scrape the garlic into a small bowl, and let sit until it cools to room temperature.
2. Add the remaining butter to the bowl and whisk until it’s light and fluffy. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Boom, you’re done.