As a professional food writer and restaurant critic, I keep an eye on trends. For the past few years, one of them has been burgers. Convenience aside, I just don’t see the appeal. The sad truth is that most burger joints, even high end ones, simply don’t live up to the local and organic standards that many of us set for ourselves and for our families. Organic produce? Humanely raised beef? Reasonable amounts of sodium? No, no and no.
So when the kids wanted burgers for dinner yesterday, I knew where we were going before the words were out of their mouths. And we didn’t even have to click our heels three times to get there. There’s just no place like home when it comes to food that’s really treated with care.
For the patties themselves, I used high quality ground beef from a cow raised at the CSA that I belong to. Kosher salt, pepper and a little trick I learned from Bobby Flay about not smashing the meat when you shape the patty were all I needed to whip up some restaurant-caliber burgers.
But you can’t have burgers without fries, and I wasn’t about to give some spuds a double dip in the deep fryer. (Yes, a double dip. How else do you think restaurants can get them so crisp?). Instead, I made something far lower in fat and, with all those A and C vitamins, far healthier, too: sweet potato fries.
Sweet potato fries are simple to make. Just peel and cut the sweet potatoes into fry-sized slices. Toss them lightly in olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and put them on a parchment-lined baking sheet at 450 for 25-35 minutes, or until crisp. Like any fries, these are absolutely delish when they come out of the oven, but their appeal fades as they cool. So eat them fast. At my house you have to, or you risk not getting any!