I must admit, I came to the sweet potato party quite late in life. Considering I eat pretty much anything I don’t know why I’ve been so ambivalent towards the sweet potato / boniato.
Perhaps it’s the way I’ve always seen it prepared; baked jacket-potato style with its orange flesh collapsing in on itself and scooped straight out of its blistered skin. And what is it about the skin that takes on irregular shiny-caramel looking spots where the flesh is peeking through? And when mixed in with carrots and parsnips as part of the Sunday roast veggies drizzled in maple syrup, the sweet potato pretty much disintegrates into the buttery maple juices at the bottom of the pan.
I think I may have answered my own question!
At a party years ago, I remember there was a sweet potato and peanut butter filo parcel which all the veggies were enjoying but I couldn’t decide whether i liked it or wondered whether it should be dessert; all it needed was some vanilla ice cream and a dusting of icing sugar and I’d have been happy…I think.
But it was on a trip to LA that my love for the sweet potato was restored. After several food blow outs I fancied something light but not salad-light(!) and came across a plain chicken breast with fries dish on the menu, that as it arrived on the table I thought, wow these American potatoes are really orange! After the first bite I realised they were sweet potato fries, duh! However, they were sweet, salty and acidic all in one bite. My eyes lit up, they were coated in salt, and freshness of lime zest and juice screamed through.
Since sweet potatoes and boniatos (white fleshed Caribbean sweet potatoes) are currently in season what better way to celebrate them than to try and recreate these lime, salty, sweet potato fries which I have shamelessly decided to call, margarita sweet potato fries; the tequila is optional.
Note: cutting them thicker makes for lighter work but they take longer to cook.
Grill some chicken breasts and corn on the cob to make this a great mid-week family supper. But I warn you, the first time I made this I ate the entire tray of sweet potato fries and left everything else!
…sweet potato fries which I have shamelessly decided to call,
margarita sweet potato fries; the tequila is optional…
Margarita Sweet Potato Fries
1st: Preheat the oven to 210°C
2nd: Wash the sweet potatoes to remove any soil or grit they may still have and slice into fries or wedges should you wish. There is no need to peel them.
3rd: Drizzle with olive oil and season well with salt flakes, pepper and lime zest.
4th: Cook in the oven for anything from 25 to 40 mins depending on size. Try to turn them once and get good colour on them throughout the cooking process.
5th: Squeeze lime juice over them as they come out of the oven and sprinkle with fresh coriander.
These fries are great with chicken but make a tasty accompaniment to grilled pork loin and white fish; anything that will pair well with zesty lime juice.
Whether you eat them as a side dish or as the main I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.