You can make fantastic crisps from all root crops – potatoes being the most obvious and I guess economical choice for commercial producers, but carrots, parsnips, swede and beetroot all work well. You can also use squashes and I believe even kale, though I haven’t tried that one. For me though, the beetroot ones are the most flavoursome, and just look at those colours, potato crisps are frankly boring by comparison.
I have tried making them in various ways over the past few years. I had beginners luck the first time I made them, but have since discovered that they can be tricky to get just right. A few minutes under and they are still a bit soggy, a minute or even a few seconds over and they’re black pieces of beetroot charcoal – albeit very tasty charcoal!
The difficulty comes when you have slices at varying thicknesses and so they crisp at different rates, so the key is to get them as evenly sliced as possible to start with. A good sharp mandolin would be ideal (something I keep meaning to purchase) but I have found that using a vegetable peeler, you can get even slices, they just won’t be round. Luckily I’m not that fussed about the shape of my crisps.
Preheat your oven to a hot temp (around 240ºc). Wash, trim and peel your beetroot, discarding the trimmings and outside peelings. Then just carry on with the peeler all round until fully peeled. Put the peelings into a large bowl and cover with vegetable oil (be generous, a couple of tablespoons per large beetroot) and with your hands (or a spatula if you don’t want bright red hands afterwards) turn the beetroot slices over in the oil so they are thoroughly coated all over. Then spread them out evenly on baking trays and sprinkle over some sea salt. Put in the oven for around 10 minutes, but from 8 minutes onwards watch them like a hawk. Depending on your oven they may need more or less time.
To be honest though, even if some are slightly moist or some slightly charred, they still taste great. Once ready, tip them into a bowl, add a touch more salt if desired and eat straight away. They don’t really keep, but you won’t find that to be a problem.