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Look What I Made: Sweet Potato Fries Recipe

Sweet potato fries with sriracha aioli (photos by Travis Awalt)

I don’t know where or when the great sweet potato fry deluge began. One day sweet potato fries are a novelty on bar menus, the next you can order them at (wait for it…) Burger King. It just… it all happened so fast. Not that I’m complaining. I love a good french freedom fry, but after consuming roughly eleventy billion of them over the years, it’s nice to have options. An option, anyway.

For the make-your-own-food crowd, sweet potato fries present, shall we say, a challenge. Simply put, sweet potatoes are way effin’ different than potatoes. They have different levels of starch and sugar and water, so you have to treat them differently than potatoes to yield similar results.

Jump.

In the case of sweet potato fries, crispiness is chiefly what’s at issue. If you’ve had both good (crisp, slightly airy) and bad (mushy, soggy, limp, etc) ones, you know what I mean. In my experience the sweet potato, unlike its easy going cousin, doesn’t respond well to frying* (or name calling). As such, sweet potato fries are usually baked, not fried, and even then they need some help, a sort of culinary boob job, to achieve a crispy exterior. Enter egg white wash. The egg white wash acts the same way here as it would on a bread loaf or pie crust — adding sheen and texture to the exterior –  with the bonus of evenly coating the fries with seasoning. There’s another school of thought that calls instead for tossing the sweet potatoes in corn starch and oil, but I’ve found the egg white method to be more effective for both crispiness and consistency. Enjoy and if you have any SPF secrets of your own, please share them in the comments.

Sweet Potato Fries

(three servings)

Ingredients:

2 sweet potatoes
2 egg whites
salt and chili powder (or whatever you like) to taste
cold water

1. Buy sweet potatoes that are relatively straight and roughly the same length. Scrubs and peel sweet potatoes. Lop off the ends and curved portion of the sides, so that you end up with something like a sweet potato brick. Slice longwise and then into 1/2″ sticks. They’ll shrink quite a bit while cooking, so don’t cut them too small.

2. Soak sweet potato sticks in cold water for 30 minutes to an hour to draw out some of the starch (helps keep them from getting mushy).

3. Beat the egg whites until frothy, then whisk in the salt and chili powder.

4. Arrange sweet potato sticks on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper. Pretend you’re a chaperone at a middle school dance and DO NOT LET THEM TOUCH or they will steam (not bueno, kids). Brush the top side with egg wash and bake 15 minutes at 425. After 15 minutes, remove, flip, brush the other side with egg wash and place back in the oven for another 15-20 minutes, checking after 15.

Cut, soak, egg wash and bake

Since you’ve got some egg yolks left over, serve immediately with…

Sriracha Aioli

(makes about 2/3 cup)

1 egg yolk
1/2 cup olive oil
tbsp or more sriracha
tsp mustard
1 garlic clove
juice of 1/2 a lemon
pinch salt

1. Using a stick blender with food processor attachment (or regular blender if that’s all you’ve got), combine egg yolk, garlic,  sriracha, mustard, salt and about 1 tbsp of the oil. Pulse to combine. Add the oil in little by little, pulsing to combine until all the oil is used and the mixture has thickened. Stir in lemon juice and additional sriracha if desired.

Eat. Now.

*Don’t believe me? Try frying sweet potato fries and see where that gets ya. Spoiler alert: I hope you like garbage, because you’ll get limp, mushy garbage or, if you double fry them as you would regular fries, burnt to a crisp garbage.

3 comments on “Look What I Made: Sweet Potato Fries Recipe

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