January 2, 2012

Kitchen Story: Baked Sweet Potato Fries

I remember how in awe I was when I first tasted the magic of sweet potato fries...it was love at first...sight, smell, taste. Ever since, I've made several attempts at making the perfect sweet potato fry that you get in some restaurants, but since I cannot bring myself to fry anything (yuck!) I've been rummaging through Google to find a baked sweet potato fry recipe. Sadly, every recipe I tried was a disaster. I had about given up on the recipes that required baking and almost resorted to...FRYing them! I know...just typing those words makes me cringe. But thank goodness I came upon one more recipe with reviews that made me give this one more chance. This recipe takes planning and time, but trust me, it is well worth all the the effort! Although I am a fan of various sweet potato fries dips, these fries are so yummy by themselves that you may not even want dips to 'mar' their taste. But the spicy dip I made was a hit as well.


Sweet Potatoes
Corn Starch (or Flour)
Olive Oil

1/2 cup Mayo
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1 teaspoon Sriracha Sauce

You want to start out 4 hours to half a day before you plan on serving these fries. Peel the sweet potatoes (as many as your heart desires) and rinse them thoroughly. Grab a large bowl or pot and set it aside. Using a large knife, cut your sweet potatoes into fries. This is the hardest part since the potatoes are raw and difficult to slice, so be careful! Also, figuring out how to cut a potato so that each piece comes out looking like a fry may take practice, but if presentation isn't a worry for you, then you're good. Make sure the fries are no thicker than 1/2 inch slices since you want them to cook well, but also make sure they're not too thin.
Place your sweet potato slices into the large bowl/pot and fill it with room temperature water. Let them soak in the water for at least 2 hours.

When you are ready to bake them, preheat the oven to 475°F. Try to drain most of the water from the bowl/pot holding your sweet potato slices. Get a large ziploc bag and fill it with about 4 Tablespoons of corn starch. If you don't have corn starch on hand, flour works too! Place a handful of sweet potatoes into the ziploc bag and shake it well. You want a light covering of corn starch on you potatoes, so if there is excess corn starch in the bag or your potatoes are completely white, add more potatoes until you get a good dusting of corn starch. Take a cookie sheet and cover it with foil (Side note: parchment paper works really well to prevent the fries from sticking, but my parchment paper can only withstand up to 425°F and burnt a little...oops! I think I'll continue using parchment paper, but just change it after each batch of fries or I may try lightly spraying the cookie sheet with PAM). Lay out the prepared fries onto the cookie sheet ensuring that they have ample space and are not touching. If it gets too crowded, the fries will NOT get crispy! Then take a few tablespoons of EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil) and sprinkle it over the fries. Then pop the fries into the oven for 20 minutes. Depending on your oven, it may take a little more or less time to bake them.
While they're baking you can prepare the next batch and also make the dipping sauce by mixing together all the ingredients and adjusting the amount of cayenne pepper and Sriracha sauce depending on your taste. You can also leave out the Sriracha sauce so people can make the sauce to their own tolerance. I like it spicy, so I added more cayenne pepper and Sriracha to my own serving of dip.
When the fries are done, remove them from the oven and serve the sweet potatoe-y goodness fresh out of the oven! (You may need a frying spatula to help scrape the fries off the foil.) Be sure to snatch a few for yourself before they run out like mine did! I didn't even get to take a picture of how they turned out! But that just tells you how amazing these are!

Bon Appétit!

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