These are similar to crisps but more impressive. The potato slices
should be cut marginally thicker than for crisps and they are not
washed. Like chips they are cooked twice and on the second cooking they
puff up like balloons.
In a traditional French kitchen crisps and souffle potatoes are made in
a large oval cast iron pot called a negresse. In the case of souffles,
two regresses are on the go at the same time and it falls to the most
junior trainee-chef to learn this very hazardous skill. The negresse
has to be manually rotated with a very fast action to get the air
circulating in the oil. This has to be done with one hand while the
other is cooking the potatoes and scooping them out with a special
slotted spoon called a spider. Fortunately, on a domestic level souffle
potatoes can be prepared very easily in a chip pan.
Peel the potatoes and cut into 1/8-in
(0.25-cm) slices. Do not put into water, but wipe dry.
Preheat the oil to 300F/150C and cook the
potatoes in small batches (they will have a tendency to stick together
because of the starch).
Put the slices in the oil and gently
shake the pan while they begin to blow. This takes a couple of minutes.
Drain on greaseproof or absorbent paper
while you cook the rest. The souffles will deflate and can be left in
this state indefinitely.
When required, bring the oil up to
360F/185C and throw in the baggy crisps, cooking a handful at a time.
They will puff and brown. Drain and serve sprinkled with salt.