Sunday, October 14, 2012

Ridiculously Easy Recipe: Parmesan Sweet Potato Fries

Parmesan Sweet Potato Fries

After a year of deliberating, I finally signed up for a Pinterest account. I hemmed and hawed for a long time, thinking it to be just a cheap knock-off of my beloved Tumblr.

I was wrong.

Aside from the fun "pinning" system, I just feel much more organized using Pinterest to bookmark recipes than my previous method of keeping them in my browser folder. Not to mention, I can access my recipes from my phone instead of having to look up the recipe on my laptop, then either copy the url to my cell, or print it out.

This recipe for sweet potato fries was the very first recipe I pinned, and the very first recipe I used. Like the original author mentions, sweet potato fries are NOT the same as regular french fries. They are delicious, and they are healthier, but they are in no way a perfect substitute to a basket of crispy, golden potato fries. The little bit of cornstarch (I used flour because that's what I had on hand), does ensure a crunchier crust than normal fried sweet potatoes.

I tweaked the original recipe to include this delicious spice mixture of garlic salt, pepper, parsley, and Parmesan cheese. I'm not a big fan of the traditional flavors paired with sweet potatoes (cinnamon sugar being the most popular it seems,) but feel free to substitute whatever toppings you like or even just leave them plain. They're delicious any way you toss 'em.

Sprinkle with handfuls of parmesan, parsley flakes, and spices.
Soak sweet potato slices for 30 minutes up to 8 hours to remove some of their starchiness
This oil may look hot enough, but it's not.
This oil is the perfect temperature to steam the fries inside but crisp them up outside.

Parmesan Sweet Potato Fries 

Makes 2-4 servings

For the fries:
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled
  • Bowl of cool water
  • 1-2 tablespoons flour or cornstarch
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
For the spice mixture:
  • 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, shredded or powered
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt 
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley, or fine dice fresh if that's what you have on hand
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  1. Very carefully cut your sweet potatoes into fries. The best way to do this is to halve the potatoes, then halve again, then cut into uniform little strips. You want them to be in between shoestring and fast food fry thickness. Soak the "fries" in an ice bath for 30 minutes or up to 8 hours before you're going to use them.
  2. When you're ready to cook, pre-heat your oil on 400 degrees or set a heavy bottomed skillet to medium high. You'll know it's hot enough when a drop of water splatters in the oil.
  3. Drain the potatoes and toss in flour until lightly coated.
  4. Fry in the hot oil* for 7-10 minutes or until golden brown. You may need to do this in batches depending on how big your fryer/pan is, so keep a foil lined piece of aluminum foil in a 250 degree oven to keep the first batches warm. Be careful not to overcrowd.
  5. Once you are finished frying, plate the finished fries on a paper towel lined bowl or plate and sprinkle generously with the herb/spice mixture. 
  6. Serve with ketchup, mayo, or just plain on their own.
*Be careful! Oil burns are not fun at all. Make sure you have a fire extinguisher or a box of baking soda nearby any time you're frying to easily extinguish any accidental grease fires. Additionally, never EVER leave hot oil unattended. 

Questions? Comment below.

Simple, delicious, done!

Shauna E!


Quick and Dirty Q&A with Shauna E

1. Why do I need to soak the potatoes first?

Soaking the sweet potatoes in water will help draw out some of their natural starchiness, which in turn will help them stick to each other less during frying. Less sticking equals a crispier fry!

2. Deep frying is do fatty! What are my other options?

It's no secret, the more fat you cook with something, the tastier it will become. While I do believe everything is great in moderation, there are ways to lighten this recipe up. For lighter fries, simply preheat your oven to 450, then spread the floured fries onto a foil-lined baking sheet (for easier clean-up) and drizzle the fries with 2-4 tablespoons of olive oil and smoosh around with your hands. Bake for 12-15 minutes, flipping once and adding more oil. Please note that oven-baked fries will NOT look as crispy as the fries pictured above but they will still be delicious.

3. How can I make sure my fries come out as crispy as when I go to a restaurant?

First of all, make sure you have PLENTY OF OIL. Make sure there is enough oil to cover the potatoes, and then some. For a 10" skillet, I used approximately 2 cups, and even added a little more with the second batch. Second, make sure your oil is HOT!!! See the two pictures precluding the recipe for some examples of how your oil should and shouldn't look when you're cooking. Additionally, attempt not to overcrowd the skillet/fryer. Adding too much at one time will lower the temperature and cause sticking. Remember: The less stickiness  the more crispiness. And always, NEVER EVER leave anything you're deep frying unattended, and always have a method to extinguish nearby just in case.

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