Predictable, clichéd, fool-proof food-and-drink matches evolve over time for a very good reason: while they're not groundbreaking, exciting or innovative, they work - and taste delicious - time and time again. You could, for example, probably choose plenty of white wines or pink wines or even light reds to go with this month's recipe - a pungent sauvignon blanc, perhaps, or a pale, dry pinot rosé, or even a cool Beaujolais - but you know as well as I do that salty, chilli-laced fried potatoes are really best washed down with a glass of cold beer. Especially if they're accompanied by the salty, cheesy, caramelised goodness of ricotta, roast onion and feta dip. So the question is, which beer? The freshness of a lager would work, but the beer might not have enough flavour and oomph. A dark ale, porter or stout would perhaps be too heavy. So I'd plump for something in the middle like an India pale ale. Developed (so the story goes) in the UK in the time of the raj, IPA is a full-strength beer with medium-bodied flavour but high levels of hop aroma and bitterness: the extra hops helped preserve the beer on its journey to India and produced a drink with more flavour and character.
Salty, chilli-laced chips and beer is a classic combination that shouldn't be tampered with, writes Max Allen.
- For deep-frying: vegetable oil
- 4 sebago potatoes (about 200gm each), thinly sliced on a mandolin
- 2 tbsp sea salt flakes
- 2 tbsp rosemary, coarsely chopped
- 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
Onion, ricotta and feta dip
- 60 ml olive oil (¼ cup)
- 3 onions, thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp rosemary, coarsely chopped
- 150 gm sour cream
- 100 gm firm ricotta
- 80 gm Greek feta, coarsely chopped
- 1For onion, ricotta and feta dip, heat olive oil in a deep-sided frying pan over low heat. Add onion and stir occasionally until caramelised (30-35 minutes). Stir through vinegar and rosemary, season to taste and set aside to cool. Meanwhile, process sour cream, ricotta and feta in a food processor until smooth, then season to taste. Stir through onion mixture and set aside.
- 2Heat vegetable oil in a deep saucepan or deep-fryer to 180C. Deep-fry potato in batches, stirring and turning occasionally, until golden and crisp (1-2 minutes; be careful as hot oil will spit). Drain on absorbent paper.
- 3Combine sea salt, rosemary and chilli in a bowl, toss through chips and serve with onion, ricotta and feta dip.
This is our version of the good old chips'n'dip combo. You could try using interesting potatoes such as purple congoes to bring colour to your party starter.
Drink Suggestion: India pale ale Drink suggestion by Max Allen