As we all become more health-conscious and trend aware, what we eat is changing. More and more consumers are replacing all-time favourites such as fries with more conscious choices. One of these alternatives is the sweet potato. But how do you make a dish to remember from sweet potatoes and have your guests come back for more? Jeroen van Oijen, head of culinary development of food idea generator ‘Gastronomixs’, is here to help you with world championship-winning combinations of sweet potatoes and sauces.
It’s hard to be the new potato on the block
Sweet potatoes have been around for years but have only recently become a regular feature on the dinner table in many European countries. Though they look and taste somewhat like regular potatoes, they’re more distant cousins than brothers (as the name may suggest). The texture is different, but so is the flavour, which unfortunately means many first time-sweet-potato meals can be underwhelming. Why? Because they are prepared like regular potatoes. So, before we get to the saucy bit, a few tips on serving sweet potato fries:
- Make sure to add enough savoury spices. This helps take the edge off the sweet flavour.
- Sweet potatoes are better baked than fried, so into the oven they go!
- Serve your sweet fries with a thick cut to ensure you maintain their inner softness.
- Serve with matching dishes and surprising sauces (we’ll get to that in a moment).
- Bonus tip: sweet potatoes are the closest thing to fries for diabetics, gluten-free and paleo eaters. Promotional opportunity!
Complementing the sweetness with savoury sauces
And here we are, the tasty bit of my story. Maybe you’ve wondered why some dishes are such a success with your customers? Or why some classics never change? I can guarantee that, when you look at the dish more closely, you’ll find it has a lot of contrast. Opposites attract, and that can be in the structure, temperature, colour or flavour of the food. This challenges the consumer and makes the dish a tasty experience. When we look at our beloved fries, for example, we see this contrast in practice. Fries with ketchup, mayonnaise or vinegar, whatever takes your fancy, they’re all classic combinations that we keep going back to. So how about the sweet potato? I went looking for a perfect match in a world of flavours.
The kitchen as a matchmaker for world flavours
Sweet potatoes are quite diverse, and they come in different colours with a sweet flavour that’s sometimes even a bit nutty. There’s also some variety in texture, making them suitable for many dishes (including desserts). As a chef, I consider my role in the kitchen as that of a matchmaker who brings together the right flavours. So, what matches best with sweet potatoes? Think of caraway seeds, cumin, maple syrup, garam masala, ras el hanout, ginger, citrus, Jerusalem artichoke, soy, onion, garlic, brie, smoked bacon, Parmesan, honey, peanuts, sour cream and yoghurt. It’s like the whole world is represented in these flavours, which inspired a range of surprising new world sauces for sweet potatoes that will tantalise your guests’ taste buds. And make sure to try my ready-to-use sauce-matches yourself!
Keep exploring a world of flavours
Remember, opposites attract, and that’s not just true for dating – it also applies in the kitchen. With the right combination, you’ve got yourself a winner. There’s a whole world of flavours to explore, so don’t ever stop innovating and inventing. If you need a little help, sign up so we can keep you in the loop and don’t hesitate to check out Gastronomixs!