Before I start into this Friday’s Football Foodie, I’d like to take a second an express a little sympathy for our basketball loving friends who experienced a pretty tough blow this week when NBA Commissioner David Stern canceled the first two weeks of the NBA season due to lockout. Fans will lose 100 hundred games and seasonal employees will probably go without work the nights games were scheduled as it is unlikely building management will be able to arrange for a Disney on Ice or concert to fill those dates on such short notice.

As dark as the days were for the NFL, it looks worse for basketball. The NBA is at a real risk — probably more than so than the NFL ever was , especially once it was found out union representative DeMaurice Smith was secretly sitting on a war chest of funds to keep the players going — of losing an entire season.

Around here we mostly talk football, hockey and baseball, but that doesn’t mean TSW HQ is a basketball-free zone. I hold a rather faded allegiance to the Detroit Pistons — borne out an inflation with Bill Laimbeer and the Bad Boys, love watching Kevin Garnett play even if I hate the Celtics and like everyone else, hopes the Cavs can someday get over the pain inflicted on them by The Decision.

So heed the fable of How The Commish Ruined Christmas my football friends, and be happy that this isn’t happening to you.

This time.

(NHL, you’re up next year. Don’t mess it up.)

Maple Sage Sweet Potato Chips

Continuing our chip coverage this week are these great sweet and savory Maple Sage Sweet Potato Chips that fry up in a flash. From start to finish, you can have these babies done in less than 30 minutes.

And yes, these are fried chips. It’s faster and you get a more uniform crunch. Oven-frying chips ends with mushy middles and burnt edges, no matter if you try at 375º, 400º, 425º, 450º. I should know, I tried baking them at all those temperatures. Why work so hard when the easy way is well, easy.

What makes these chips work is maple sugar, which you can find at health food stores and more hippie-centric grocers. (Read: Whole Foods.) It’s not overly sweet but has a nice maple flavor that goes well with both sage and sweet potato. I use a mix of both dried and fresh sage, as fresh fried sage gives some pop and looks pretty while the dried sage carries the real load of flavoring the sweet potatoes.  A touch of salt and you’ve got your new favorite fall chips for football.

(Update 5/24/12: Trader Joe’s now carries maple sugar.)

You will need:

2-3 sweet potatoes, preferably long and thin ones for even slicing, scrubbed clean
roughly 2-3 tablespoons maple sugar
roughly 1-2 tablespoons dried sage, preferably as fresh as possible (spring for the good dried sage!)
2 stalks of fresh sage, rinsed and patted dry (optional)
1-2 teaspoons of cracked sea salt
oil for frying, 3-4 cups depending on size of pan

Again, I cannot emphasize enough how important good dried sage is for this recipe. Is it old sage from last Thanksgiving? Toss it. It’s lost all its flavor.

Slice the sweet potatoes as thin as possible (a mandolin works great), about 1-2 mm thick.

Pour the oil into the pan until it’s about 1-inch deep and start to heat to 350-375º.

Fry the fresh sage and drain on paper towels.

Crush the fried sage in a small bowl and set up your draining and seasoning station, as the next steps happen quickly.

Working in small batches, fry the sweet potato slices.

Stir with your strainer as they cook.

Once they stop sizzling and releasing steam, they’re done. Should take 3-4 minutes a batch.

Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with a couple of pinches each of fried sage, dried sage, maple sugar and salt. Toss and season just a bit more on the reverse side of the chips.

Repeat until all the chips have been fried. Give the chips one final toss and check seasoning.

Serve.

Wondering what you’re going to do with the leftover maple sugar? Use it on cinnamon sugar toast. Baked sweet potatoes. In your coffee (YOU HEARD ME) and in place of refined sugar. It’s a nice change of pace in your baked goods.

Studley and Carolina Blue are tied in first place in the Football Foodie College Pick’Em League, while DougOLis and CDBarker are heading up the Pro Pick’Em. After this many weeks in the lead, it’s time for Carolina Blue to submit their team for drug testing.

Update:

We got a nice email from our old friend Tom McGrath on how he made his own maple sugar.

So, I don’t have a candy thermometer or… frankly, any thermometer, so what I did was get a fair amount of maple syrup (I think this worked because I used (“wasted,” some might say) good maple syrup made without HFCS) boiling like absolute crazypants, and quick transfered it from a pot (in this case a deep soup pot, but probably whatever, as long as it doesn’t come up over the sides) to a flat/shallow pan (again, improvising: a small saute pan) and then as it cooled, whisked like crazy until it went from bubbly syrupy mess to carmely stringy whatever, and then to chunky powdery … stuff. Then I tried to sift it through a medium-fine strainer, and when that went to hell, I used the world’s tiniest mortar-and-pestle in tiny batches, and then sifted again. It’s dustier than granulated sugar, so you may want to use a coarser straining implement.

It’s kind of a spazzy evening over here.
But I also kind of feel like I’m on some version of Chopped where they’re like “you have all useful ingredients! But the twist is: you have NO TOOLS. GO OUT BACK FIND A STURDY BRANCH TO STIR WITH.”
-TC
Tom is a braver man than I.
Maple Sage Sweet Potato Chips: Football Foodie
Recipe Type: snack
Author: sarah @ sarahsprague.com
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 10 mins
Total time: 20 mins
Serves: 6-8
Sweet and savory chips full of fall flavor for football.
Ingredients
  • 2-3 sweet potatoes, preferably long and thin ones for even slicing, scrubbed clean
  • roughly 2-3 tablespoons maple sugar
  • roughly 1-2 tablespoons dried sage, preferably as fresh as possible (spring for the good dried sage!)
  • 2 stalks of fresh sage, rinsed and patted dry (optional)
  • 1-2 teaspoons of cracked sea salt
  • oil for frying, 3-4 cups depending on size of pan
Instructions
  1. Slice the sweet potatoes as thin as possible (a mandolin works great), about 1-2 mm thick.
  2. Pour the oil into the pan until it’s about 1-inch deep and start to heat to 350-375º.
  3. Fry the fresh sage and drain on paper towels.
  4. Crush the fried sage in a small bowl and set up your draining and seasoning station, as the next steps happen quickly.
  5. Working in small batches, fry the sweet potato slices. Stir with your strainer as they cook.
  6. Once they stop sizzling and releasing steam, they’re done. Should take 3-4 minutes a batch.
  7. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with a couple of pinches each of fried sage, dried sage, maple sugar and salt. Toss and season just a bit more on the reverse side of the chips.
  8. Repeat until all the chips have been fried.
  9. Give the chips one final toss and check seasoning.
  10. Serve.
Notes

Have paper towels or kitchen towels on hand for draining.

Do not mix the sage and the maple sugar together beforehand or you will end up with a gummy mess, as the maple sugar will absorb the moisture from the sage.

Share →

2 Responses to Maple Sage Sweet Potato Chips: Football Foodie (And some lockout sympathy for NBA fans)

  1. Clare says:

    You know how I feel about deep frying, but MMMMMMMMMMMM FRIED SAGE. I love fried sage! My favorite thing about the Thanksgiving turkey is picking the frizzled sage leaves off the bird and eating them like ultra-savory potato chips.

    • sarah sprague says:

      I’ve tried doing the fried sage dredged in water and flour like the Italians make more times than I can count, and it doesn’t quite work out the way I think it should.

      Yet I keep trying…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>