Salt and Vinegar Pita Chips
Beef jerky, sour candies and Cheetos are just a few of my weaknesses. For Mike it would be salt and vinegar chips, chocolate covered almonds, and….salt and vinegar chips. In that order. Every time that I coerce him into taking a road trip that he’s less than keen on (note: that would be every road trip) I have an emergency stash of both on hand to start pelting onto the dashboard when he gets grumpy. It only occasionally works, but occasionally is good enough for me.
When the junk food cravings hit, there are a multitude of strategies that you can take. For example, some people build the Noah’s Ark of ice cream sundaes, resplendent with two types of dessert sauce, whipped toppings, and sprinkled add-ons. Others might be craving a fat free yogurt and a baggie of carrot sticks (note: these are not my people). I’m from the clan that craves salty, sour treats, so salt and vinegar chips are a perfect fit. Okay, so maybe I lied when I said that they were for Mike. What of it. We can’t be virtuous all the time, can we? Bearing that in mind, for the times when I”m desperately trying to pretend that salty deep fried slices of potato are NOT what I’m craving, despite the fact that we all know better, salt and vinegar *pita* chips fill the void quite nicely.
Salt and Vinegar Pita Chips
Serves 6 snackers, more or less
- 1 bag pita bread (6 large rounds) *
- 1 cup strong white vinegar
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil, such as sunflower
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 3-4 tbsp of your favorite salt *
* Pita chips should be thin and crispy, so look for the large, flat, Middle Eastern pocket breads. A Greek style pita will be both too small and too thick.
** There is a time and a place for table salt. For example, you know that you’re getting strep throat but still feel the need to gargle something and wish away the pain. Oh, or someone who hates you bought you a neti-pot for Christmas. Both good uses for table salt, so I grant you that it does have a place in this world, but this is not it. Use your favorite kosher or sea salt, or invest in a variety of interesting salts to see which one you like best. For these pita chips I gathered up my Hawaiian pink salt, charcoal tinged alder smoked salt, murky looking French sel gris, and just some good old fashioned sea salt for the rest of the rounds.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF with your racks in the center positions.
Pour the vinegar into a medium sized mixing bowl (the extra room makes it easier to whisk). Mix the olive and vegetable oil together and very sloooooowly drizzle them into the vinegar, drop by drop, whisking constantly. If you have a blender, all the better because the quick whip and added air will encourage this acidic vinaigrette to bind despite it’s better judgment.
Carefully split each pita round into two parts, trying to be mindful of any potential tearing. Lay the pita bread flat on your work surface with the coarse/inner side facing up. Brush the vinegar mixture onto the pita bread quite liberally, even if it starts to soak in and you worry that you might have used too much. You haven’t. The bread should be moist all over to the point where it is reliably damp and soft to the touch in all spots.
Sprinkle salt all over each bread round, using approximately 3/4 – 1 tsp of salt per round. Yes, that seems like a lot, but remember that these are “SALT and vinegar chips”, not “delicately seasoned chips”. However, if you didn’t heed my warning and you’re using table salt for this task, a scant 1/2 tsp per half pita will do you fine.
Whisk the oil and vinegar after each round and really scoop deeply with the brush to douse vinegar onto the rounds. The ratio of oil to vinegar here is quite low so it will separate given half a chance. Don’t give it that half chance. Keep whisking every chance that you get and brush from the bottom of the bowl to mitigate the fact that the oil will have far more of an affinity for your brush.
Slice the pita into 6-8 wedges, however you see fit. Lay the pita wedges on a baking sheet in a single layer with the salted side facing up.
Bake the pita wedges for 8-10 minutes, rotating the racks halfway through. The wedges are ready when they are golden brown around the edges, gently curled up, and most of the pieces feel dry to the touch.
These pita chips are all about snacking, and they’re perfect to strategically leave on the counter for those days when you say, “Dinner will be ready in, oh, half an hour or so….” When really what you mean is, “You’re not eating until 10 pm, suckah! Want some chips?”
If you have specialty salts, this is the perfect opportunity to let them shine. Crinkly flaked sea salt? Yes please! Pink salt, gray salt, rock salt, Madagascan volcanic ash salt, or salt harvested from the aqua eyes of weeping cherubs ? Why not?! These chips are worth your salt, so go forth and bake snacks.