Recipes | 9 July 2015Sweet Potato Fry Nests Share article facebook twitter google pinterest If you’re struggling to get crispy sweet potato fries at home, you’re not alone. The secret lies in a technique you probably wouldn’t think of: fermentation! Ferment Your Vegetables jazzes up those regular sweet potato fries and tells you all you need to know about fermenting your fries. Sweet Potato Fry Nests Excerpted from Ferment Your Vegetables by Amanda Feifer of Phickle.com A French chef once explained to me that although he prided himself on from-scratch cooking, he never made fries in-house. “It’s impossible to do them right in a kitchen this size,” he said. He went on to explain that the only way to get a really great French fry was to soak the potatoes for at least 36 hours before frying. Essentially, all great fries (like all great food, in my biased opinion) are fermented before they’re fried. The fermentation process eliminates the risk of a harmful compound (acrylamide) from forming during cooking and greatly improves the texture of the final fries. There are two options here, baked and deep-fried. Unsurprisingly, the fried version is greatly preferred by my friends and family, but the baked version does come out crispy and better than the vast majority of restaurant shoestring fries you’ll ever order. And like any great French fry, this is definitely not health food. Enjoy with ketchup or poached eggs and kale. Ingredients 1 large sweet potato (1 pound, 450 g), spiralized, skin on 2 ¼ teaspoons (14 g) kosher salt 1 ½ cups (355 ml) water 1 quart (940 ml) high-heat oil Place the sweet potatoes in a quart (900 g) jar. Mix the salt and water until dissolved and pour this brine over the potatoes, ensuring that there is a thin layer of brine over the vegetables. Using your preferred fermentation method, submerge your veggies and cover your jar. Place your jar on a small plate or bowl and allow to ferment at room temperature for 2 to 3 days. Drain the liquid from the sweet potatoes and spread out in a single layer on a large kitchen towel. Pat dry. Pour the oil into a 3-quart (2.7 L), heavy-bottomed pot and heat to 375°f (190°c). While you’re waiting for the oil to heat, continue patting the sweet potatoes dry. Pull them apart and pile them up so that each long strand becomes a little nest. There will be a few odds and ends. Those can be made into their own piles of similar size to the single-strand nests. Line a platter with paper towel while you’re waiting for the oil to heat. Once the oil temperature hits 375°f (190°c), it’s time to start frying. Working in batches, use a spoon to lower each nest into the oil. Fry 3 or 4 nests at a time to avoid overcrowding. Fry for 45 seconds to 1 minute. If they’ve started browning they’ve gone too long. Use a slotted spoon to remove them and place them on the paper towels. Allow the temperature to return to 375°f (190°c) before frying the next batch. Repeat until all of the potatoes have been fried. The oil can be reused for other purposes for several days. Yield: Approximately 20 fry nests Recipe Notes Variations: Add the zest of 1 small lemon and 2 teaspoons of dried sage leaves to the jar before adding the sweet potatoes for fermentation. Discard the seasonings before frying. For baked nests: Toss the drained sweet potatoes with 1 to 2 tablespoons (15 to 30 ml) of olive or melted coconut oil. Separate into nests and bake them on parchment paper at 400°f (200°c, or gas mark 6) for 15 minutes, or until crispy. — Buy from an Online Retailer Ferment Your Vegetables for Flavor, Health, and Fun! Fermented vegetables are a great, healthy addition to anyone’s diet. Abundant in probiotics, enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and more, research continues to reveal the many ways that these foods positively contribute to our well-being. From kimchi and sauerkraut to pickles and kvass, fermented foods have been part of the human diet for millennia–and are rightfully reclaiming their place at our daily table. The idea of fermenting vegetables at home can be intimidating for those who have never tried it before. The truth is, it’s quite easy once you learn just a few basic concepts. In Ferment Your Vegetables, author Amanda Feifer, fermentation expert and founder of phickle.com, serves as your guide, showing you, step by step, how you can create traditional, delicious fermented food at home, using only simple ingredients and a little time. No fancy starters or elaborate equipment required. Using only veggies, a few spices, and a glass jar, here’s just a small sampling of recipes you could start making today: Zucchini Bread Pickles Curried Cauliflower Pickles Pint of Pickled Peppers Simplest Sauerkraut Ginger Beet Kraut Green Bean Kimchi Wild Fermented Tomato Sauce Bullseye Beet Kvass Ferment Your Vegetables will make beginners wonder why they didn’t start sooner, and give veteran fermenters loads of new ideas and techniques to try at home. All aboard the probiotic train! Share article facebook twitter google pinterest If you have any comments on this article please contact us or get in touch via social media.