Summertime just begs for BBQ and all the wonderful side dishes that go with it. For this post, though, the BBQ is not the star, ... I won't pretend to be a master at BBQ, although I'm working on my skills. I made BBQ Beef Brisket the other night, which turned out more dry than I would have liked, although it was still pretty tasty on a toasted bun with onions and spicy pickles.
Grilled corn on the cob was as perfect as it always is--personally I don't think it needs anything added, although as a kid, my family loaded ours up with butter, salt and pepper--now I eat it plain.
And then there are sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes are a really good-for-you food, being a low-glycemic carb in addition to just being plain delicious. And they really don't have to be smothered in butter, cinnamon and sugar the way they're served at most steak houses; roasted in the oven with a little olive oil, salt and pepper until they're soft inside and the edges are nicely crispy and caramelized is just about my favorite way to eat them. (For a variation on the spices try them with nutmeg or a dash of cayenne pepper!)
For our BBQ dinner, though, I decided to make fries. Now, I've tried making oven-baked sweet potato fries many times, and cannot for the life of me make them crispy in the oven--they still taste good, but they're not really what I want from a fry (think Wendy's--best fries ever!). So for this meal, I boiled them first to cook them nearly all the way through, then fried them in a shallow pan in some olive oil to add a crispy exterior. I was really pleased with the result, and thought they looked especially cute arranged in brown paper cones set in a glass.
Sweet Potato Fries
- 2 large sweet potatoes (for 4-5 servings)
- salt, pepper, or other favorite seasoning
- 1 cup olive oil
Peel the potatoes, if desired, or leave the peel on for added texture and simply scrub the potatoes well. Slice into steak-fry size wedges (about 1/4 inch thick).
Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil over medium heat. Add the potatoes and cook just until you are able to pierce them with a fork, but wedges still hold their shape. Since you are not making mashed potatoes, it's important to not boil them too rapidly, or they will become soft and mushy on the outside before they're cooked through.
Transfer potatoes to a wire rack to drain. Heat the olive oil in a wide, flat bottom pan over medium-high heat. The oil is hot enough when a drop of water sizzles when dropped into the oil.
Working in batches so as not to overcrowd the pan, fry the potatoes, turning as needed, until golden brown and crispy. Drain on a paper towel and immediately sprinkle with seasoning.
(I made the paper cones by cutting rectangles from paper Starbucks bags, rolling into a cone and folding the end under before placing in a glass.)