Butter-Fried Sweet Potatoes – Not Yams!

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The following side dish is a great alternative to your common potatoes. Whether you’re a culinary guru and are just trying to add a little orange (steamed carrots are not the only option) to the greens and yellows on the dinner plate, looking for more Vitamin A sources, complex carbohydrates, something fried and yummy, or if you’re trying to add a little healthy sweetness to the mix, this side dish may be for you.

But before we begin, lets not confuse this vegetable with Yams! I actually detest that, as Yams are not even related to a Sweet Potato, yet many folks, even from the south, say “I like those fried yams!” A freakin’ Yam is the typical given name for a plant species in the genus Dioscorea (family Dioscoreaceae) that also forms edible tubers albeit they are much larger. These crazy-growing Yams are perennial herbaceous vines cultivated for the consumption of their starchy tubers in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean and Oceania. Although the sweet potato has, for whatever reason, been wildly referred to as a Yam in parts of the United States and Canada, it is not part of the family Dioscoreaceae, rather it is in the Morningglory family Convolvulaceae.

Even without all the scientific babble, Yams can grow up to nearly 5 feet in length, so be sure to let me know when you have seen a Sweet Potato grow to such size!

Oh, this food-related post is about Butter-Fried Sweet Potatoes, so lets get on with it.

First of all, these are Sweet Potatoes, depicted below:


After you have realized that you are taking on some mighty Sweet Potatoes, the next thing to do is wash them and peel ’em. Ya know, sort of like you would common white potatoes and/or spuds, just before your make mashed potatoes. But hold your horses from this point, as you don’t begin to slice anything yet, and we sure as heck ain’t mashing anything (excuse my attempt to sound southern). Below, I’ll show an image of what step you should be at now, after peeling your potatoes. Please note, the plate of trimmings to the right in that image, as they are great to add to your compost pile or to just throw them out in your garden spot as vegetable waste, if you are into such things as the recycling of table scraps and organic compost, etc.


Okay, so you have your peeled Sweet Potatoes, not Yams, and now it is time to soften these suckers up, before they get sliced and butter-fried. To do so, you need to grab a big pot, fill it with water and heat to a boil. …Add those orange potatoes into the boiling water and boil for about 6 or 7 minutes. Check out the steam below, as we let the good times roll on the stove-top…


From here, you drain the hot water, add some cold water and let cool for a few seconds. Then, you take each potato out and begin to slice into about 3/8th inch slices. Take a large skillet out, add a fair amount of butter and sprinkle a tablespoon of sugar around the pan. After everything gets hot and melted, add your sweet potatoes and begin to fry. Of course, feel free to add a little salt and black pepper onto at least one side of the potatoes while frying. The process should look something like this:


Now, although I elected to not go to the trouble to seek out wild, large, crazy Yams, the common Sweet Potatoes when butter-fried with sugar, salt, and pepper, usually turn out like this:


Well, since this is a food-related post about a side dish, why not add an image of the current main dish and/or entree? Anyway, in addition to these deliciously butter-fried yams, oops, I mean sweet potatoes, I plan on adding several other items like asparagus, turnip greens (no fried squash today) and so on, to some oven-baked, well-seasoned and slowly cooked chicken thighs, as shown below:


—End of Post

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