Home Fried Sweet Potatoes
Try this healthy and bright variation on an American breakfast staple
BY MAGAZINE COLUMNIST JOANNA HELLER
It’s sweet potato season. Local and plentiful!
One of my many favorite breakfasts is home fried sweet potatoes. They are rich and satisfying by themselves and wonderful with a salad or sunnny-side up eggs… or both!
Although I choose local seasonal foods as much as possible, I love that sweet potatoes are now somewhat more available during the rest of the year and we can also sometimes get them in restaurants without waiting for Thanksgiving. They are one of my favorite foods.
The good news: sweet potatoes are extremely healthful while still sweet and rich tasting. The bad news: the usual way to get them in restaurants is french fried. Not that they aren’t delicious, but deep fat frying is not known for its health benefits.
You Say Po-ta-to, I Say Yam
The Library of Congress clarifies the confusion between sweet potatoes and yams. They are actually from two different botanical families.
Yams are related to lilies and grasses, native to Africa and Asia, and are not what we are most likely to be seeing in most markets. Yams are starchier and drier than sweet potatoes. Also, they can be enormous. (The record as of 1999 is 130 pounds!)
Sweet potatoes are members of the morning glory family. Their skin color can range from white to yellow, red, purple or brown. Their flesh ranges in color from white to yellow to bright orange. The white fleshed variety is rather firm and dry but still sweet. The yellow / orange varieties are soft and moist and are the ones we see next to the turkey. These soft moist ones are also the ones that tend to be (wrongly) labeled yams.
Confusing, yes… but still really worth eating. Baked, boiled and mashed, fried, however you like…
Tip: Sweet potatoes can be a bit hard to slice or dice, and for this dish I shred them in the food processor just as I would carrots for carrot salad. Check to see if the skin scratches off easily with your fingernail. If it does, you don’t really need to peel it unless you want to. Just wash it. But if it feels kind of leathery, peel it.
Home Fried Sweet Potatoes, the Healthy Way
half of a small to medium onion (or one shallot or leek or any mix)
one medium sweet potato
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
Note: My favorite ratio is about one part onion to four or five parts potato. Leftovers are great and as long as I am shredding and frying, I always do some extra.
Start by sautéing finely chopped onion or shallot or leek (or some of each) in one or two tablespoons of olive oil just until soft and translucent.
While that is happening, shred the sweet potato.
Then add potatoes to the pan and mix well, sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper, cover and let cook for about ten or fifteen minutes or until potato starts to soften.
Uncover the pan and turn and stir the mixture to enhance browning. It’s ready as soon as you want it to be…
- mix some grated ginger with the onion as it is sautéing.
- add a minced small garlic clove in with the onion
- sprinkle a bit of cinnamon into the sweet potato
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© 2011, The Magazine of Yoga, LLC.