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:
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.