For those who haven't seen the post, Christey sprained her right foot over the weekend.. So, she's not climbing ladders, shooting over my shoulder, or dancing and weaving around getting shots. I think these turned out great, but they're more planned than our usual impromptu cooking candid documentation. Photojournalism will resume in roughly 3-6 weeks. Last Thanksgiving, our family and friends had an epic meal with close to 20 adults, and over 10 kids. I was responsible for the sweet potato dish. Now, I actually do kinda like the marshmallow and oven-browned sweet potato thing (though I almost think you could put marshmallows on foie gras and it would be good...). But, I was looking for something different, so I brought my mandoline (that wonderful, yet blood-sucking, infernal tool), and sliced up a dozen sweet potatoes paper-thin, deep fried them, and sprinkled them with feta. The feta on the sweet potato chips almost looked like marshmallows, which is kinda what I was going for. They turned out pretty good, but Thanksgiving in Florida was rainy and 78 degrees, so the crispiness definitely fell off as the dinner progressed.
The other day, Jonathan, from the wonderful food blog We Are Never Full commented on my roasted chicken with feta green beans, and that reminded me that I haven't made sweet potato chips with feta in a long while. So, I did, with some grilled lamb loin chops.
Steak and potatoes is, of course, a classic. American might be T-bone and mashed, French might be steak au poivre with pomme frites, but meat and potatoes goes together like...well, that's the cliche already, isn't it?
With the more earthy lamb, I like something to be a little more aggressive than a wimpy white tuber. Sweet potato and a nice salty, biting feta hold up nicely.
The lamb is pretty much the same recipe as an earlier post (see: Lamb and crab aioli).
But, it was a nice evening, so here are some grilling pics:
The manatee were playing in the canal as I was grilling
Meanwhile, as the lamb was grilling and the manatee frolicked, I went inside to fry up the sweet potatoes.
I absolutely love how the mandoline can cut almost transparent slices of sweet potato. However, I hate the cage/guard. It's noisy and you can't see what you're slicing. I tried to avoid using the cage, but with the blade/groove combo needed for matchstick frites, I've shaved off the tips of a few fingers in the past. So, I grudgingly use it so that I may be able to type afterward.
I like them thin, obviously. Thicker may give more of a crunch, like kettle-chips, but I think there's something wispy-ethereal about very thin slices of sweet potato fried to a crunch.
After being tossed in 350 degree oil, they shrink. A lot. A bright red-orange chip the size of my palm will sizzle and bubble, then calm down to a dull orange-brown crisp the size of a poker chip. That's okay -- the flavor is just concentrated. After taking them out of the oil, I dust with kosher salt. Then, I sprinkle with feta.
The feta is salty itself, so it's not necessary to über-salt with kosher. If the chips are still hot, the feta will melt just slightly over the potato, which is about as sublime as things get.
Lamb and sweet potato chips, plated and ready.