A few years ago you would have struggled to find sweet potato anywhere on a restaurant menu; now you can find them in the side dish sections of menus across the UK. Whilst you still need to be cautious and ask if they are gluten free (lots of places coat their sweet potato fries in flour before frying to get that extra crunch) it is fantastic to be able to enjoy a Paleo friendly option without having to stick to the side salad and watch everyone else tuck into their chips.
It is not just the sweet potato fries that have been talent spotted. I have seen mashed sweet potato becoming increasingly popular and it is also making its way onto brunch dishes in the form of a sweet potato rosti or hash. It is not surprising since sweet potato and runny egg yolk may just be the best breakfast combination ever created.
For me, sweet potato is an integral part of my Paleo lifestyle and I find it boosts my energy levels and helps to create a balanced meal. If you are want to learn a bit more about including sweet potato in your Paleo lifestyle then take a look at my articles Meet the Sweet Potato: Your Paleo Friend and Making Safe Starches part of your Paleo Diet.
Sweet potato fries with rosemary salt…
Making the perfect sweet potato fries can be trickier than it sounds. The first thing to remember is that sweet potatoes cook differently to white potatoes. They are softer and will not firm up quite the same when cooked; they also cook faster so you can end up with burnt fries if you are not careful. The first choice to make is whether to oven bake or fry. I personally think that you get a better result if you fry them but they do also come out well if you bake in the oven. If you have sweet potato fries or wedges a few times a week then you might want to do a combination of baking and frying.
For this recipe I have chosen to cook the sweet potato fries in lard as I think this creates the best results. Lard is a great fat to cook with as it has a high smoking point, crisps the fries up nicely and has a neutral flavour. Despite all the negative associations that we tend to have with lard there are health benefits to including it in your diet and I use it all the time for my cooking. If you want to find out more about using lard in your Paleo cooking then take a look at my article on Choosing the Right Paleo Cooking Oil and my article for Primal Eye Magazine Why Everyone Should be Cooking with Lard.
As sweet potatoes tend to cook faster it is best not to cut them too thin. They will just turn very crispy and burn easily. I find cutting fries which are about 1 cm wide works well. They do shrink when cooked so you will still have the look and feel of traditional fries. Start by getting the lard nice and hot (I use a wok for deep frying) and then add one piece of sweet potato; if this starts bubbling instantly then the fat is hot enough and you can add the rest. Once you have all the fries in the pan you can turn the heat down to medium. Leave them to cook for about 8-10 minutes depending on how crispy you want them.
I served my sweet potato fries with a homemade rosemary salt; this is super easy to make and really completes the dish. I keep rosemary in the freezer and then just get a sprig out when needed. You can use straight from the freezer for this recipe as well as it will defrost in just a few minutes. You really should give the rosemary salt a try as it brings out a whole new flavour dimension. I also serve with a bit of vinegar on the side; although malt vinegar is off the menu I like to add a touch of cider vinegar. The perfect sweet potato fries.
PIN THE RECIPE FOR LATER:
Servings: 2 people
- 2 sweet potatoes, sliced (about 1 cm in width)
- 500g lard (1 lb) (try to get grass-fed)
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- 3 tsp sea salt
- Heat the lard in a large pan or wok over a high heat until melted and starting to bubble.
- Add the sweet potato and turn down to a medium heat.
- Cook until the sweet potatoes have started to crisp up and brown all over.
- Remove from the oil and place on some kitchen roll to get rid of excess oil.
- Whilst the potatoes are cooking place the rosemary and salt into a pestle and mortar and grind together.
- Plate up the sweet potato fries and serve with the rosemary sea salt and your favourite condiments for fries.
** Keep any leftover rosemary salt in a sealed container to use for another time. It should keep in a cool, dry place for a few days.
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