Lab Note: Pan-fried Sweet Potatoes

Had a big sweet potato leftover from Thanksgiving. Still seemed firm, so peeled it and sliced it into pieces about 4cm square and 3-6mm thick. Heated vegetable oil in 10″ heavy skillet (about 2mm deep) between “medium” and “medium high” on electric burner.

Monitored temperature of oil and pan with RayTech MT4 as the slices cooked. I was looking for the point where browning started to occur, indicating caramelization. This started around 310-325 degrees. Noted that number of pieces in pan determined equilibrium of pan temperature (reinforcing the rule of thumb about “crowding the pan” when browning). About 6-minutes per side, at 325 degrees or so, produced reasonably browned and cooked sweet potato slices, which I blotted and then sprinkled kosher salt upon. Then, inspired by recent experience with Australian meat pies, doused with plenty of Heinz Ketchup.

Followup experiment: how can I determine the heat output of my burner to a particular pan, and reliably set how much power is needed to maintain a particular temperature given a certain type of food with a certain amount of coverage, given a particular piece of cookware? First, repeat experiment with magnetic induction cooking plate, which has thermostat-controlled surface.