Now It’s Really Summer

June 25, 2008

Last weekend included an annual summer occasion: the inaugural summer burger. Not a turkey burger, not a salmon burger, not a black bean burger. No, a real-deal, honest to god, as-American-as-it-gets burger. It’s an occasion that I dream about, especially during the months when the grill is frozen shut, enrobed in its snow-covered tarp. It’s an occasion that can practically reduce me to tears upon the first juicy bite. It’s also an occasion that can lead me to suffer from a severe case of tunnel vision.

You see, it’s all about the patty (ground sirloin), the bun (soft and eggy), the cheese (sharp white cheddar), the slather (Dijon mustard) and the toppings (grilled red onion, a thick round of salt-and-peppered beefsteak tomato and a heap of sharp baby arugula). Left to my own devices, I would likely end up with a barren plate, anointed with a glorious burger but nary a side dish (save for a pickle, probably).

(Click “more” for the rest of the story, more photos & the recipe.)

Thankfully, this is where Kevin—who wisely eats burgers all the livelong year (particularly this one)—comes in, bringing with him a dose of reason and a more balanced meal. With metronomic predictability, he’ll rattle off his suggestions for rounding out the meal: watermelon, corn on the cob, ice cream. And lately, there’s a new addition to this laundry list: sweet potato fries. He’ll tack it on as an addendum to the list, and he’ll punctuate it with pleading, questioning eyes.

Well, if you’ve seen Kevin’s giant brown eyes, you’ll know that there’s no way I can say no. So, I’ve developed a recipe for sweet potato fries and I think it’s a keeper. These fries are long and slender, spiked with cumin and cayenne. They’re roasted to a browned crunch and finished off with a dusting of sea salt. They become even better after swiping them through a pool of chipotle “ketchup” (a minced chipotle, some adobo sauce, a bit of sour cream or Greek yogurt and a splash of fresh lime juice). And they were very worthy of their place on the plate next to my inaugural summer burger:

Ahhhh.

Sweet Potato Fries

2 sweet potatoes, scrubbed
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne
1/8 teaspoon sea salt, plus more for finishing
juice of 1 lime
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 425. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.

Slice the sweet potatoes into 1/4-inch strips and set aside. In the bottom of a large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients with a fork, until a loose paste forms. Add the sweet potatoes and toss to coat the potatoes.

Spread the sweet potatoes on the prepared baking sheet in one layer. Roast for 30 to 40 minutes, tossing every 10 to 15 minutes, until browned and crisp. Sprinkle with additional sea salt, to taste. Serve hot.

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14 Responses to “Now It’s Really Summer”

  1. Amy Says:

    “Ahhhh” is right. Kristin, sweet potato fries are one of my favorite foods in the whole entire world – I squealed when I saw the title of your post! I love the idea of the chipotle ketchup; definitely going to try that next time. –Amy

  2. Nate Says:

    Very nice. I like sweet potato fries. Do your roasted ones turn out as crispy as deep fried?

  3. Paula Says:

    Wow, those fries look great … so does the burger. Your step by step instructions are great, too.

  4. Hillary Says:

    I don’t know which sounds better…the sweet potato fries or that burger!!

  5. Olga Says:

    sweet potatoes are my favorites! yours look absolutely delicious.

  6. Tracy Says:

    These meal and those sweet potato fries look incredible.
    I was planning burgers tonight, I think I am going to have these on the side. Although always have trouble getting sweet potatoes crispy.

  7. ChefAsh Says:

    Mmmmmmmm, I have been on the hunt for the perfect sweet potato fries for Years.. I’m going to try these asap. Now you’ve got me wanting some burgers and sweet potato fries…

  8. Madeline Says:

    I love sweet potato fries and I LOVE burgers! I too had my first one of the year a couple of weeks ago and it was one of the best things I have ever had. Your great photos and description have me craving these again, NOW!

  9. becky Says:

    woah…these looks really good. the burger too! i love eating sweet potato fries with honey mustard. it’s delicious.


  10. Amy: I’m going to post an actual “recipe” for the chipotle sauce soon; stay tuned!

    Nate: Definitely not as crispy as deep fried, sadly. But if I don’t have to deal with a vat of spitting oil, I’ll take it. And if you allow them to roast properly, they’re nice and crisp on the outside, while tender on the inside.

    Paula: Thanks!

    Hillary: Oh, the burger, for sure. I’m still thinking about it, actually.

    Olga: Thanks!

    Tracy: Yeah, as I said to Nate, it’s definitely not the same as deep fried. But I think the thin slice and high heat help.

    ChefAsh: Please do! Let me know what you think.

    Madeline: Congrats on the first burger. It’s a beautiful thing, isn’t it?

    Becky: Thank you!

  11. GS Says:

    Hi Kristin! I just found your site and I’ve already added it to my favorites list! I made sweet potato fries yesterday (because I love all things sweet potato!)but mine were SOOOO soggy! I lined my pan with parchment and I think it retained moisture. Nevertheless, I had delicious mashed sweet potato in the end!! Next time I’ll stick to your tried and true instructions! Keep ‘em commin’!


  12. GS: Actually, sweet potato mash sounds quite lovely. Sounds like you made the best of it. And thanks for your kind words.


  13. Sweet potato fries are one of my favourite things to eat! Especially when they’re cut long and thin like what you have.

    Best thing: no frying!

  14. jgodsey Says:

    you HAVE to try them with Duck Sauce!!!

    it’s AMAZING!


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