There are few dishes that highlight American cooking techniques better than a tasty hot sandwich or burger served up with a side of sweet potato fries. Having grown in popularity in recent years, sweet potato fries have become a culinary staple of good pub food and sophisticated cuisine alike. Compared to your russets and redskins, sweet potatoes can be a bit tougher to work with, but don’t let that deter you from using these delicious vegetables in your own kitchen. Here are five tips for making tasty sweet potato fries at home:
1. Learn proper knife techniques
Sweet potatoes have a reputation for being hard to peel and cut; however, with proper knife techniques this process will be less cumbersome. For starters, make sure you’re using a sturdy, well-sharpened chef’s knife. Then, really focus on cutting your sweet potato fries as evenly as possible. With a little practice, you’ll get more uniform cuts so your fries cook at the same rate.
2. Don’t crowd the pan
Whether you pan fry your sweet potato fries or bake them in the oven, it’s important to give each fry enough space to cook. Stacking fries in the pan will result in some getting burnt or overcooked while others stay close to raw.
3. Toss in seasoning
Don’t try to sprinkle salt, pepper and other seasoning over your fries once they’re in a big pile on your plate. To ensure that your herbs and spices are evenly distributed, toss them in a bowl before serving. This strategy also works for getting your fries coated in oil before you cook them, as exemplified in this sweet potato fries recipe courtesy of Food Network’s Paula Deen.
4. Be patient
No one likes biting into a handful of fries and finding them to be undercooked. If you bake your sweet potato fries, give the oven enough time to fully preheat and then give your fries adequate time to cook on each side. The fries will likely need to bake for anywhere from 20 to 45 minutes depending on the recipe and size of the fries.
5. Develop a crisp exterior
Many home cooks may struggle to get that ideal crisp exterior on the outside of their sweet potato fries. This is due to the high water content of sweet potatoes that can leave your fries feeling mushy. To avoid this, Health Foodie recommends opening the oven door periodically when making baked fries to allow moisture to escape.