It’s not surprising that the many people are up in arms about how much food we waste, and potatoes are part of the problem: about half of all potatoes bought by UK households are thrown away. That’s nearly 6m spuds a day, at a yearly cost of £230m.
My mum always made the best chips: skin-on, hand-cut, cooked once, and served doused in malt vinegar and ketchup. The skin adds flavour, colour and crispness. The same goes for roast potatoes: why peel them? It takes more time, plus the skin (and just below it) is where most of the nutrients are stored – in this case, bags of vitamin C, potassium and iron.
I make roasties by parboiling them whole, skin and all (scrub off any mud first, if need be), then crushing them a little so they break open and reveal their fluffy insides, before tossing in olive oil, plenty of salt and perhaps a herb or spice, and finishing in the oven for an hour at 190C/375F/gas 5. This gives you the best of both worlds: a crisp, floury crunch and earthy, flavourful skin.
But if you must peel spuds, perhaps because you like chips white and roasties golden yellow, then, for your wallet’s sake, cook them up – those peelings make the most marvellous crisps.
Potato peel crisps
Heat 3cm oil in a deep saucepan on a medium-high flame. Check the temperature by dropping in a ribbon of peel: it’s hot enough if it starts to bubble and rises to the surface. Drop in the peelings – in batches, if need be – give them a gentle stir and fry until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen towel. Sprinkle with salt while hot, and serve with a squeeze of lime and a sprinkle of chilli.
• Tom Hunt is a chef, sustainability campaigner and founder of Poco Tapas Bar in Bristol
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