Saturday, February 16, 2013

Bacon Dusted Japanese Sweet Potato Fries

There's nothing better than a simple recipe with a twist. One that somehow becomes more than the sum of it's parts.
That's exactly what happened with this recipe.

 Simple fries made with Japanese Sweet Potatoes, cooked in lard with BACON and finished with Sweet Bacon Dust take plain ol' fries to a whole new level. Yup, this one kind of blew my husband's mind. In a good way.

Michael Symon inspired the cooking method. After seeing him cook bacon in lard and then use the lard to fry chicken, the recipe below was born. The thought of infusing bacon flavor into whatever was being cooked in the oil sounded like a stroke of genius to me. (If you haven't had the lard-fried fries at the B Spot in Cleveland (also at Pittsburgh International Airport) you MUST! You will thank me.) Thanks, Cleveland boy!

The other inspiration came from the spectacular fries served at Winghart's on Market Square in downtown Pittsburgh. Always crunchy and brown on the outside and tender on the inside, I finally figured out what gave those fries their beautiful browning, their crunch and slight sweetness...the secret is sugar. That culinary discovery was confirmed by of the cooks who perform the magic behind the counter at my favorite burger joint in town.

And so this recipe was conceived. Simple ingredients combined in a new way became a favorite in my kitchen and in Mark's heart. 

Bacon Dusted Japanese Sweet Potato Fries

  • 1 pound lard (find it in the grocery store in the Meat Department)
  • 4 slices bacon, thick slices - reserved after cooking

  • 2 large Japanese sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/4" X 1/4" sticks (Russet potatoes or regular sweet potatoes work just fine, too!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 4 slices crisp cooked bacon (reserved from above)

Melt lard in a deep, narrow pot. When the lard is liquid, add the bacon and cook at 375 degrees until the bacon is crisp. Remove the bacon and set aside.

Toss the peeled and cut potatoes with 1/2 teaspoon sugar and 1 teaspoon Kosher salt until every fry is coated.

Maintaining the oil temp at 375 degrees, gently add potatoes to the oil in several batches. Fry each batch until crisp and golden and drain each batch on paper towels. 

While the potatoes are frying, make the Sweet Bacon Dust. Just whirr up the bacon and 1/2 teaspoon sugar in a blender or food processor until fine. There you are, Sweet Bacon Dust! Yum.

As each batch comes out of the oil, sprinkle with Sweet Bacon Dust. Keep warm until all batches are done.
NOTE: Don't want to bother with Bacon Dust? Finish the fries with Salish Alderwood Smoked Salt. Deliciously easy.  


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