This isn’t a recipe so much, as an idea for you to do something different with sweet potatoes. One single sweet potato can create enough fries to serve an entire party as nibbles.
The herbs and spices are up to you – I’ve used my fave Szechuan pepper with salt, sumac, & dried thyme – but use any seasoning you prefer (see footnote).
Makes: enough canapés for a crowd
- 1 large sweet potato
- Sea salt flakes
- Szechuan pepper
- Dried thyme
- Dried sumac
- Vegetable oil
- One baking tray
- Tin foil, to line tray
- A chopping board and sharp knife
- Mortar & pestle (to crush whole spices)
- One medium mixing bowl
- Tongs, to turn slices over
- Line your baking tray with foil and put it in the oven while it heats to 220 C (200 C fan-assisted).
- Scrub the sweet potato under running water – no need to peel. Let dry. Slice lengthwise into thin slices – as usual, the more evenly it’s sliced, the more evenly they’ll cook.
- Crush the pepper with the salt and thyme in a mortar & pestle.
Add to a medium bowl with the sumac, add the potato slices, and toss to cover evenly. Spread out the slices on the prepared baking tray, and drizzle over a very light amount of oil.
- Bake for 30 minutes, turning each slice over halfway through, until crisp. Keep opening the oven door to allow steam to escape so the slices crisp up, and don’t steam / get soggy. Alternatively, you could use a top-down setting, and leave the oven door open throughout baking.
- Sprinkle over additional seasoning before serving.
My rule of thumb with most savoury dishes is to think about the Thai rules for flavour balancing – sweet, salty, hot, and sour. Sweet potatoes naturally have the first, so add plenty of salt, and your preferred pepper (black, white, rainbow, etc) for the hot. Or, you could add chilli flakes or very finely chopped fresh chilli to the mortar & pestle.
This is one instance where sour doesn’t need to rear its head – but you could, if you like, add just the merest dash of vinegar with the oil (balsamic tastes great, but it darkens the fries as per the last photo; a clear vinegar is probably best).
I found that thyme really complements the flavour of sweet potato well. But I also make these fries with dried rosemary, dried oregano, dried basil, and/or finely chopped dried chives for equally delicious results.
I’ve deliberately specified dried herbs for this recipe – they bake much better than fresh.