Can we talk sweet potatoes for a sec? They seem to have captured the hearts and minds of all people everywhere. They are slightly sweet potatoes, I mean what’s not to like? They have a stunning color, fantastic texture, not to mention, very appropriately named.
I grew sweet potatoes in my garden this year. As is my custom, I had NO idea what I was doing so I can’t tell you if my crop was good or bad but I can tell you those suckers like to burrow. As we were pulling dinner together the other night I casually mentioned to my family that I was going to go dig up a few sweet potatoes to roast for supper and thought it would be a job that would take approximately 3 minutes tops. I went out with my trusty little shovel and started digging around where I thought they would be, you know, right under the surface of the topsoil. Then dug some more……then some more…. next thing you know I’m about a foot down, covered in mud, and 30 minutes into the task before I saw even a glimpse of the orange-hued tuber. By that point Hiro had been sent out to see if I’d fallen into a crevasse or if I was even still in fact in the backyard. Ha! 3 minutes my ass, I done got schooled by some sweet potatoes.
But they we’re goooooood. So worth the mining they took to extrapolate potato from ground. And we had a decent amount although I plan on planting twice as much next year—digging up your own homegrown sweet potatoes is as good as gold.
One of my favorite ways to enjoy them is fried….duh. But then you make a quick, spicy caramel and toss the freshly fried sweet potatoes in that, sprinkle with a few sesame seeds and it is as good as candy. So good! They make a delicious, if not unlikely dessert to finish off a fall meal, but they are no stranger to the cocktail party either. They may seem fussy with the oil and caramel and all that business, but they actually come together very quickly and can be made with basic pantry ingredients, which makes them a great last-minute entertaining recipe, too.
- 1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
- Scrub sweet potatoes and cut into 1/2-inch thick slices. Cut in halves or quarters if very large.
- Fill a frying pan with 1-inch of oil and heat over medium heat until it reaches 350°F or a cube of bread browns in 30 seconds.
- Fry sweet potatoes in the oil, being careful not to crowd the pan, until slightly tender but still firm, about 2 minutes. Remove to a heat-proof bowl.
- Combine sugar, salt, cayenne powder, and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Continue to boil, undisturbed until dark brown and thick, about 5 minutes.
- Pour caramel over sweet potatoes and stir to coat. Transfer to a platter and sprinkle with sesame seeds, serve immediately.