I like sweet potato fries. Okay, let me rephrase that. I adore well-made sweet potato fries. I'm disappointed when I see "substitute sweet potato fries $.50" on a menu only to receive a tasteless cardboard substitute. *sigh* That's happened a depressing amount of times, which leads me to think that I put too much merit into the most mundane of things. But, seriously, if you've had flavorful, slightly crispy ones (with an awesome dipping sauce, optional), you can see why I absolutely beam when I see that little menu substitution in the first place. My husband, and for that matter anyone else eating alongside me, generally get a kick out of it. Kind of like watching a kid on Christmas.
While homemade SP fries can't seem to compare, texture-wise, to those you find in a restaurant, I still think they're worth making. Firstly, you know that the only ingredient on its list is "sweet potato" (with the exception of the olive oil and seasonings you choose). The nutrient factor seems higher when you know you've cut an honest to goodness hunk of vegetable down to size. Secondly, you can control whether it's fried or baked. Of course, in our household they're always baked. a) I've got a husband with a leaning toward high cholesterol and b) I'm not big into frying stuff, mostly because I'm incredibly lazy and don't want to deal with the disposal of the used oil. Thirdly, and finally, comes the flavor. Even when they come out soggy, it turns out to be a nicely seasoned roasted sweet potato wedge that can still be used as a tasty side to any meal. Even when it's yucked up, it's worth it.
So, I don't have a tried-and-true way to make fool-proof sweet potato fries. Bummer. BUT, I've done enough Googling of a million or so recipes and found the common good in all of them. Here's what I made tonight...
Sweet Potato Fries
One large sweet potato
(Optional: Mrs. Dash)
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Yes, seriously, that hot.
Carefully cut the sweet potato into long slices (I cut mine in half so they weren't as long), around 1/2" thick. Toss in olive oil (enough to coat each side but not enough to "swim") on a large, foil-lined baking sheet. Season with the above seasonings. (I did 2 versions - half of the sheet with the 4 seasonings, the other half with just pepper and low-sodium Mrs. Dash. Why don't you guess who's eating the Mrs. Dash side.) Bake for around 20 minutes (don't open the door!), then flip each wedge before baking for another 15-20 minutes.
Allow to rest. Serve with ketchup, ranch dressing or the below dipping sauce.
Today, I took a cue from Giada and tried a mayo-based dipping sauce. Of course, I tweaked her recipe a bit.
Mayo Dipping Sauce
Large scoop of mayo (1/4 cup, or however much you'd like to make); I used organic mayo
One garlic clove, minced
Spritz of lemon
Seasonings (in this case, cumin & chili powder)
Mix all ingredients together. (I did this in a small mason jar.) Refrigerate a minimum of 30 minutes for flavors to meld. You may also just create a simple dip, leaving seasonings out - it'll taste like a garlic aoili.
Now, go forth and enjoy like a cat writhing around and stretching out in all his cute glory. That is, if you're into sweet potatoes...and who isn't? ;-)