LivingTravelThe Chip Butty: A Serious British Sandwich

The Chip Butty: A Serious British Sandwich

A chip butty, a sandwich made from French fries, is a food phenomenon that could only happen in Britain, where the humble spud is a food group of its own.

Every country seems to have its own versions of “heart attack on a plate” foods, and Britain is no exception. One of these may be the chip butty. It is basically a sandwich of French fries, or French fries as they are called in the UK, between buttered bread (hence the name ‘butty’).

The humble chip butty is so deeply ingrained in English lad and laddette culture that there is even a song about it. The song, known as “Greasy Chip Butty Song” is a hymn sung by fans of the English football club Sheffield United to the tune of “Annie’s Song” by John Denver. Have a listen.

How to make a butty chip

Sauce or no sauce? Crispy or loose chips? Sliced bread, crispy rolls, or scones? The recipe for the perfect chip butty, like the recipes for other classics favorites like mac and cheese, is the subject of much serious discussion and disagreement, so much so that even the august London newspaper, The Telegraph, has chimed in with its own take.

I’ve seen blogs from American food writers asking for burger buns, ciabatta, sub rolls. Forget those. Regardless of what they argue about the chip flavor, most Brits agree that smooth, flabby white bread is the right container for this starch-on-starch sandwich. Bread exists only to hold it all together and should not claim flavor on its own. As Tim Hayward says in his article, How to Make the Ultimate Chip Butty, “Your bread for this should be smooth, white, and seamless. This is not the place for artisan sourdough. This is what you will need the most:

  • Softened salty butter , spread thickly on cheap, plain white bread. Do not stop. If you are concerned about fat and calories, why are you eating this sandwich anyway?
  • Cooked French Fries (French Fries) French fries should be fluffy on the inside but pale on the outside. If you’re smart about deep frying and can make twice cooked fries at home, go for it. But really, this is an impulsive sandwich that you can make with good quality frozen fries or, best of all, fresh fries from a local takeout store.
  • Come out generously sprinkled over hot chips. Coarse, kosher, or sea salt is best.
  • Sauces (optional) Purists find that hot salty fries and buttered bread are enough, but some people add ketchup, HP sauce, or melted cheese.
  • Construction : Hobbyists insist that it is important when laying out your sandwich to organize the tiles into two or three layers, each layer perpendicular to the one underneath. You want to make a very compact and striped arrangement. This apparently has an impact on the taste.

When to eat chips

Breakfast lunch dinner? Basically, anytime you can put your healthy eating worries on hold and indulge in guilt-free indulgence, it’s a good time for a chip butty. They’re especially good for soaking up alcohol after a night out on the town, making them the ideal midnight snack, eaten standing up, of course.

And don’t forget the crispy Sarnie

Another variation of potatoes between slices of white bread is the crispy sandwich or sarnie. French fries in Britain are what North Americans call French fries (remember that French fries in the UK are French fries at home). These sauce-soaked fries on white bread (yes, buttered of course) are so popular in some quarters that two different crisp sarnie cafes recently opened in the UK. The first, in Belfast, was a pop-up cafe that closed after a few months. The second, which opened in Yorkshire in 2015, was apparently a resounding success before the owner was forced to close due to his health. If you are thinking of trying a crispy sarnie, check out the BBC recipe.

Chip chips are most popular in the north of the UK and Scotland. It’s not really too surprising, as they also enjoy that other artery clogging treatment, battered and fried Mars bars.

But before you dismiss these weird and unhealthy combinations, consider the banana and mayo sandwich that the Washington Nationals baseball team luckily ate. And of course there is always the fluffernutter.

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