Tierce de Picanterie

Recently I’ve been noticing the simmering of a modern phenomenon, one that bubbles up against convention, and one that, truthfully spoken, makes me quite simultaneously pleased and bereaved. This new truth of the era cries out “good cooks are not the pudgy ones you’d imagine”.

Yes, sure, with the dawn of refined sugar and mass production of butter and white flour one would expect that chefs ought to be fat. But you know, people who can seriously cook are not stupid. We know the ingredients that are culprit to obesity (though we still put them into our creations from time to time as a shortcut to make people happy). We know exactly what goes into the food we make (and eat, since we most likely made it), so we have a choice – a choice for good health.

But I am grieved. Grieved from watching one of my best friends die in my generation. Why has the heart of a home become no more than a microwave? It should be a place where fresh water rushes cold from the tap, where the backs of spoons sound against the sides of porcelain bowls, and where one can just hear the muffled sputtering from inside the oven.

People, microwaving dehydrated potato sticks is not cooking. Never has a decent fry been made like so. I personally don’t like the wasteful nature of deep-frying (oil goes rancid if reheated after having previously been at a temperature sufficient for frying), so bake. Ditch the microwave/precut/frozen/not really fries.

Get real. Eat real.


Ingredients for the mayonnaise trio:

3 tbsp good quality mayonnaise (with as little ingredients as possible), or vegenaise

1/2 tsp each chipotle paste, freshly cracked black pepper, and wasabi paste

To make the mayonaises, mix one tablespoon of mayonnaise with each of the flavourings in separate small dishes. Refrigerate until needed.

Ingredients for the yam fries:

3 medium-sized yams/sweet potatoes, washed and cut into 1/3-inch sticks with the skin on*

2 tbsp grape seed oil

2 tbsp sweet potato flour or cornstarch

coarse sea salt

To make the yam fries, preheat the oven to 410 degrees F, with the rack in the middle of the oven. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper brushed lightly with extra grape seed oil. In a large bowl, toss the cut up yams with the oil and starch.

Spread the yams evenly onto the baking sheet in a single layer without crowding. Sprinkle generously with sea salt and bake for about 20 minutes, or until lightly charred crisp-brown.

Serve immediately with the chilled mayonnaise.


*for even crispier fries, leave the yams to air dry for 3o minutes after cutting and before tossing with the other ingredients.

1 thought on “Tierce de Picanterie”

  1. Nice recipe and beautiful pictures. A couple general pieces of advice: precooking a starchy food like yams in boiling water or the microwave before coating them with oil and roasting them. This causes starch molecules to burst releasing a sort of gelatinous starchy substance that allows the fries to get seriously crispy. Also fry oil can certainly be used more than once before going rancid. While it is true that the temperatures involved will create rancid tasting by-products of oxidation over time fry oil can be re-used any number of times depending on various factors. A good overview can be found here: http://www.seriouseats.com/2013/09/ask-the-food-lab-how-many-times-can-i-reuse-fry-oil.html

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