the potato chip improvisations + recipe: real onion dip

Maria Robledo

Maria Robledo

After discovering the unlikely and delicious combination of leftover mousse of foie gras smeared onto potato chips (we were out of toast), I started making mental notes of the delectable combinations you could make with this ordinary ingredient. Good potato chips – cut slightly thick, fried in olive oil, and seasoned with sea salt – are easy to find many supermarkets these days, so I’ve found myself breaking my rather unrealistic assumption that I should make everything myself. I buy them instead.

And then I imagine what they’d be good with, that is, just about anything that goes with fried potatoes, which opens up a vast world of possibilities. Many of these combos would make a perfect hors d’oeuvre to serve with cocktails or champagne, for New Year’s Eve, let’s say…Just fill the cavity of the chip and serve or let people do it themselves.

Here are some of recent potato chip improvisations:

-with robiola, a  soft, mild Italian cheese that tastes like slightly fermented cream (a combo I learned from my friend Peggy Markel on the Island of Elba)

-with sour cream and smoked salmon, trout, or sturgeon or just about any smoked fish

-with crème fraiche and caviar (salmon, or American sturgeon for example)

-with eggs: richly scrambled (with cream)…
…soft-boiled or fried (for breakfast)…
…imagine a tiny fried quail egg on a single potato chip (what an hors d’oeuvre!)…
…or warm, smashed hard-boiled eggs mixed with mayo and Pimenton de la Vera

-with warm brandade de morue (a salt-cod-potato-and olive oil puree)

-with Skordalia, a creamy Greek garlic sauce

-with some warmed, shredded, slow-cooked meat like short-ribs or pot roast with a dab of sour cream

-and of course, with REAL onion dip

Recipe: Real Onion Dip

Onion soup dip, made with sour cream and dry onions soup mix, lost it’s chic decades ago but I don’t know anybody that didn’t love it and wouldn’t love it again if it were made without the ersatz flavors and intense salt of the original. Here is my revision made with real, caramelized onions stirred into sour cream for an astonishing effect. Served with excellent potato chips – rosemary-and-olive oil are fabulous – it is the ultimate cocktail party food.

You can scale this recipe up to make several times the amount of servings. Just use a bigger pan and allow more cooking time.

Makes about 3 cups

2 tablespoons unsalted butter or extra-virgin olive oil
2 pounds yellow onions, peeled and finely diced
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Freshly ground pepper to taste
About 1 1/2 cups sour cream
A few drops fresh lemon juice

In a large nonstick skillet melt the butter over moderately low heat. Add the onions, sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and toss to coat. Cover and cook until the onions have released liquid, about 13 minutes.

Uncover, increase the heat to moderate and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle with the sugar and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the onions are golden brown and caramelized, about 10 minutes longer. Pepper generously and adjust the seasoning. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely.

In a medium bowl, combine roughly equal parts onions and sour cream, adjusting the balance to your taste. Add salt, freshly ground pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice if necessary to pick up the flavors.

Cover and chill until ready to serve.

10 Responses to the potato chip improvisations + recipe: real onion dip

  1. dana joy altman 12.30.2009 at 10:28am #

    sally, my mouth is watering! thank youf or this. also, congrats on the Homies!

  2. Joseph 01.13.2010 at 10:48am #

    My mom always ate her potato chips with bananas. She loved the combination of soft/crunchy, salty/sweet. I always get the strangest looks when I eat this combination of food, but I don’t mind because besides being tasty, it reminds me of my mother.

  3. bridget {bake at 350} 01.13.2010 at 2:49pm #

    I’m just finding you through a podcast of A Splendid Table. You are an inspiration…I’m so happy to find the blog! Thank you!

  4. Sally 01.13.2010 at 11:03pm #

    Now that combo sounds just SWELL! It makes perfect sense: the potato chip would be like a salty crust for an instant banana pie…

  5. Sally 01.13.2010 at 11:24pm #

    I’m so happy you found us!

  6. norah 02.24.2011 at 9:44am #

    I love potato chips on a bagel with cream cheese. It adds salt and crunch (and fat unfortunately) and is SO good.

  7. Sally 02.24.2011 at 2:50pm #

    Totally GREAT idea. Never thought of it. Thanks!

  8. christine 07.22.2011 at 8:52am #

    A peanut butter and jelly sandwich on soft bread must be filled with crunchy potato chips, the thick salty kind!

  9. Sally 07.22.2011 at 11:18am #

    Ah, brilliant!

  10. Kim Sykes 02.23.2013 at 8:32pm #

    Going to try to make this for an Oscar viewing party tomorrow! Substituting a tofu cream that I have perfected in place of regular sour cream and earth balance shortening instead of butter. A challenging dish to try to make vegan, but here it goes!

Leave A Comment

Feeling Inspired?

If the Improvised Life is a source of creativity, inspiration, ideas and change in your daily life, please consider becoming a Friend with Benefits. A little bit goes a long way towards helping us publish fresh AD-FREE content each day.