A few weeks ago, I went down to Greenwood’s Uptown farm stands to see what Parisi farms had to offer and found some beautiful purple sweet potatoes. I bought them but had no idea what to do with ‘em. I didn’t know if the color would “go away” after they were cooked, and I knew that the more they looked purple the more likely it was that my kids would eat ‘em. So, I decided it was time to get what I had wanted for years: a mandolin slicer. I have looked at fancy ones before—and they are all very cool—but I wanted to see what Walmart had to offer. I found it: a $19.99 Farberware one.
I took that thing home, and boy can it slice. First purple sweet potato experiment: chips. I just sliced them thin, dropped them in my old-school Fry Daddy, and cooked them twice. To make them crispy you need to dunk ‘em once, drain ‘em, and then give them to the oil one more time. We sprinkled one batch with cinnamon sugar and gave another batch fine sea salt—they’re great both ways.
Second experiment: fries. Same process: sliced them with my julienne attachment, fried them twice, sprinkled one batch with cinnamon sugar and another batch with fine sea salt. Everyone loved them.
Third experiment: no mandolin, no fryer. Just rubbed them with shortening, baked them for about 45 minutes, split them open, and topped them with butter and cinnamon sugar; in other words, I just treated them like regular old sweet potatoes.
All three experiments were smashing successes for two reasons: the really deep purple color remained unchanged, and my kids were successfully duped into eating sweet potatoes. They always resist sweet potatoes, no matter how we dress ‘em up. This time we got “What is this? Is it a sweet potato?” My answer: “They are purple potatoes.” Kids: “But are they sweet potatoes?” Me: “They’re purple potatoes. Can’t you see that they’re purple potatoes?” I wasn’t lying; I just wasn’t answering their question. And then despite their skepticism, they ate the purple sweet potatoes and said they were delicious.