Sweet Hot BBQ Fries
Sweet potatoes are one of those vegetables that just never really gets enough good press and face time. Growing up, outside of the candied versions that appears as part of the Thanksgiving cornucopia of food, I hardly ever paid this tuber any attention. When I wanted a starchy vegetable, I reached for its more commonly used cousin, the white potato and called it a day. Never once did I really pay the sweet potato much mind and bother to explore its culinary riches.
All that changed a few years ago when at a new brew pub, I ordered a burger and learned that its accompaniment were sweet potato fries. “Sweet potato fries? Sounds weird, but eh, I like fries, how bad could it be?” I was dubious, but decided to take the plunge and see where the cards fell. Well, it wasn’t bad. No, no….they were anything BUT bad…they were downright AWESOME.
What I learned that day is that the sweet potato can do almost everything a regular potato can, but with more dimension and pizazz. Fries, a quintessentially regular potato dish, totally soars to new heights when made with sweet potatoes. Slightly sweeter, with a rich, moist interior that isn’t as starchy but has a more complex body of flavor, the sweet potato fries made a believer out of me.
It should come as a surprise to no one that the next time I decided to make my own burgers at home, that I would be looking for a recipe for sweet potato fries to make myself. I found this recipe and I loved that you could prepare these on the grill simultaneously while preparing your burgers. The grilling gives the fries a slight char from the caramelized sugar which is so flavorful and delightful. I found myself eating those pieces first before anything else!
What makes these fries even more special is that you have the option to spice these up according to your tastes. So for you folks out there who like a little spicy with your sweet (like me!), this recipe is for you!
Sweet Hot BBQ Fries
Adapted from Bon Appétit, July 2006
Yields 4 to 6 servings
2 lbs sweet potatoes or yams, peeled, cut lengthwise into 1/2″ thick slices, each slice cut lengthwise into 1/2″ wide strips
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tablespoon light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (according to your tastes)
Additional olive oil for grilling
Prepare barbecue (medium heat). Place potatoes in a large bowl. Add 1/4 cup oil, chopped fresh rosemary, brown sugar, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper to potatoes. Sprinkle potatoes with salt and pepper; toss to coat. Brush grill lightly with oil. Place potatoes on grill, spacing about 1 inch apart. Grill until potatoes are tender and slightly charred, turning occasionally, about 10 minutes total. Transfer potatoes to bowl, season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve.