Fancy Up Cheap Potato Chips With Black Pepper

Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock

There are no bad potato chips, but some chips are definitely better than others. On the lower end of the spectrum you have thin, flimsy, greasy, super salty generic potato chips: pretty good alongside or in a sandwich, but I underwhelming in a bowl on their own. On the other end you’ll find the sturdier, kettle-cooked chips, which usually possess more potato flavour and the structural capacity to scoop onion dip without breaking. But no matter where your chip falls on the crisped potato spectrum, it can always be elevated with a couple of grinds of fresh pepper.

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This may seem too obvious at first — too small a hack, too boring for me to mention in blog form. Salt and pepper are a mundane seasoning combination, but, with the exception of Kettle’s Salt & Fresh Ground Pepper Krinkle Cut (an exemplary chip), it’s rarely found on a potato chip. It’s been a few years since I’ve had the peppery Kettle Krinkle (because I’m a fool), but I was recently reminded of just how good pepper and chips can be when I sprinkled some on a pile of Smith’s for this photo.

It’s hard to explain just how and why the combination is so satisfying. Something about the fruity, pungent oils from the freshly ground pepper — and it must be fresh — amplifies the potato-ness of the chip and makes you really appreciate the salt. What was once lacklustre becomes exciting. What was flat becomes multidimensional. What was an afterthought — an obligatory side to a sandwich — becomes intentional and thoughtful. It makes even the cheapest, greasiest potato chip taste a little more refined but, most of all, it’s a really easy way to make your potato chips taste super freaking good.

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