I love french fries. There is something about the contrast of textures of their fried crispy outside and soft chewy inner core that is irresistable. Of course I have had potato fries before, and even sweet potato fries, which I prefer over your standard potato. Sweet potatoes have so much more flavor, and just lend themselves better to being fried I think. Well, if one can make french fries out of potatoes and sweet potatoes, why not other root veggies? Thus began the concept for tonight’s post, winter root veggie fries.
French fries are super easy to make - slice, cook a little bit, fry in oil, eat. It’s pretty simple.
We (my husband and I) did the sweet potatoes first, because we knew they would turn out well. And they did. Mmmmm scrumptious sweet potaote fries. I’m getting hungry just thinking about how awesome they tasted. Then came the other veggies – for this I had purchased a rutabega, turnip, and celery root (celeriac). Apparently there was a bit of debate in my household over which was the turnip and which was the rutabega, and whether the grocery store had gotten in wrong. Based on wikipedia’s pictures and a number of results from google, I am going with the pure white fleshed veggie that was half purple half white was the turnip, and the one with a bit more yellow color was the rutabega. Though apparently some turnips can be yellow and some rutabegas can be white. I think the real point of confusion was that one grocery store called them rutabegas and the other called it a waxed turnip. Ha, it’s funny how variable a name can be, even within a 10 mile radius!
How did the veggie fries turn out? Well, first I had to successfully fry them. This involved learning the hard way not to put too many into the hot canola oil at once, or the oil will bubble up and splatter all over you and the kitchen! Not to mention the fact that adding too many at once totally dropped the oil temp very fast and then it was a real task trying to heat them back up again and keep a steady temp. Some batches we ended up frying twice. Those turned out the best. Maybe this means that frying should only be done if you have some type of automatic temp. control. Maybe someone has some tricks to deep frying in a large pot over the stove that would be useful?
I’m just going to say that the fries were OK. They were alright, but not awesome. Especially the celeriac. The flavor was a bit strong and I think overall too bitter to really work out well as fries,w hich was sad becuase I LOVE celeriac, especially as a puree that accompanies a roast. Even with salt, pepper and seasonings they really weren’t winners. Maybe if I had battered them first it would have mellowed that aspect of the taste out a bit. But just cooking them as french fries, well, I think I’ll stick to the sweet potatoes. I also wonder if another reason as to why they didn’t taste as good is because those veggies are a bit less starchy than the veggies with “potato” in their name that one is more typically accustomed to seeing cooked this way.
Oh well, it was fun to try something new, even if it wasn’t a total success!
Getting to know your veggies -
If you want to know what your veggies taste like, take a small bit of them raw. When we were making these we had fun giving everyone blindfolded taste tests to see if they could identify each one. Ha, this is how the whole “rutabega/turnip” debate started!