Trial and Error: Re-Creating Restaurant Sweet Potato Fries

We were blown away with our success at making extra-crispy potatoes the other week simply by parboiling them and tossing them with salt before roasting. Crispy oven-baked sweet potato fries have been another on-going obsession of ours, so we immediately wondered if the same technique could work again.

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Really good sweet potato fries are a surprisingly difficult thing to achieve. Even in restaurants, they often arrive limp, soggy, and the exact opposite crispy. We’ve tried high-heat baking, frying, soaking the cut pieces in cold water, starting with a hot baking sheet, and a dozens of other little tweaks and inventions in our pursuit of a better sweet potato fry at home.

With this technique of parboiling and tossing with salt, we feel like we’re getting close. We sliced the sweet potatoes into wedges and boiled them for just two minutes to soften the outsides. A quick shake with kosher salt and olive oil, and into the oven they went.

At first, we were disappointed. The fries didn’t brown as much as we would have liked. The outsides felt dry, but didn't get truly crispy.

The real difference was in the texture. Sweet potato fries often end up with a mushy texture on the inside, but these sweet potatoes felt firm and had a nice bite. We could dunk them in the dipping sauce without worrying that they were going to break off or be too limp to scoop anything up.

These were really the closest to restaurant fries we’ve ever gotten. We can’t wait to try it again and combine the technique with others we’ve tried in the past. We think that pre-heating the baking sheet and possibly adding an egg white (or panko crumbs?!) along with the olive oil and salt during the tossing step could get us even closer to perfection.

Have any of you had success with making crispy sweet potato fries at home?

Close-to-Restaurant Sweet Potato Fries
Serves 4 as an appetizer

2 medium-sized sweet potatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Pre-heat the oven to 450°.

Cut the sweet potatoes into fry-sized wedges. Place them in a sauce pot with one tablespoon of kosher salt and enough water to cover. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, cook uncovered for two minutes until the potatoes are soft on the outside but still firm in the middle. Drain immediately.

Combine the drained sweet potatoes, one teaspoon of kosher salt, and one tablespoon of olive oil in a mixing bowl. Cover with an inverted dinner plate and shake to roughen up the sides of the sweet potatoes.

Spread the sweet potatoes in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes and then flip the potatoes. Bake for another 5-7 minutes, until the potatoes are dry to the touch and brown in some places.

Eat as soon as they’re cool enough to handle!

Related: Ketchup with a Kick! Add Curry Powder

(Images: Emma Christensen)

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