Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Sweet Potato Fry Perfection

While doing my Sunday ritual of digging-through-the-cabinets-and-figuring-out- the-menu-for-the-week, I came across a package of jerk seasoning (Rasta Rub from Nantucket Gourmet, who also make one of my favorite seafood rubs!) . Since we have tons of chicken from my supermarket sweet last week, I decided I would make some jerk chicken with corn. But what else? Sista needs a starch up in here. And I have had about as much brown rice as I can stand lately. Then it occured to me, sweet potato fries! My long lost friends who I havent seen in a while. They would be lovely with some spicy sour sweet chicken and corn!

I consider myself a sort of sweet potato fry aficianado. I will always order them in place of regular fries if given a choice. But not all sweet potato fries are equal. I dont care for obviously pre-frozen ones. And an underseasoned under cooked fry is no one's friend. Nor is a pitch black crispy one. No, the sweet potato fry is a tough row to hoe, but it is well worth the effort! The result of a few tricks (soaking the fries in salty water before baking, making sure they are well seasoned and oiled) results in a delicious zesty fry - crisp on the outside with a softer center. And perfect as a side dish or a snack on it's own!

Sweet Potato Fries
3 large sweet potatoes
2 tsp olive oil
Seasonings (Chili powder, seasoned salt, cumin, taco seasoning, whatever you prefer, at least a tablespoon total)
Ground pepper
Sea Salt

Slice all your potatoes into the desired fry shape. You can do wedges or sticks just make sure they are all the same size, more or less. I like to slice the potatoes lengthwise 3-4 times and then cut those slices into 1/2 inch sticks. I also leave the skin on because it’s delicious.

Once your potatoes are peeled and cut the way you want them, place them in a large bowl and fill with cold water. Add salt to the water until its salty (about 1 tsp, but taste it to make sure). Then let them soak for ½ an hour.

Preheat the oven to 425

Drain the water and towel dry each fry. This is tedious to be honest but 1) it really improves the texture of the fry when it bakes and 2) if you’re lucky a good episode of King of Queens is on so you won’t even care, dry while you watch! If you have a salad spinner whose top you can find, unlike me, that would work too but you really want them to be DRY or else they will steam instead of bake. Not Cute.

Pour the dried fries onto two foil lined baking pans (or one big one if you have one, I needed two cookie sheets to accomodate these babies).

Add a teaspoon of oil onto the fries and the spices. Now, you can go as nuts with the spices as you like. I used a tablespoon of chili powder and a teaspoon of seasoned salt between the two pans, as well as a few grinds of pepper. But you can use less or more depending. I like mine a little spicy. You can also use cumin for a more smoky flavor or taco seasoning is amazing as well. Anyway once you have drizzled the oil and spiced them, swish the fries all over the pan with your hands, making sure they are well coated in the spice and there is a slickness to the pan so they don’t stick.

Arrange them in a single layer on each pan.

Place in the oven and set the timer for 15 minutes. Once the timer goes off, remove the pans, and flip the fries over, again making sure they are in a single layer. Rotate the positions of each pan in the oven if you used two, and set again for another 15 minutes.

Now here is where the greatest of men have fallen apart. Now, at this point they will be a little soft, but will crisp as they cool. A perfectly delightful sweet potato fry. However If you like your fries a little more crispy, you will want to flip them once more and put them back in for MAYBE 5 minutes. You will have to check them because as soon as they reach the perfect texture of crispiness they are a heartbeat away from burning. So I fine that my 15 + 15 + 5 rule works well for ideally textured fries.

Et voila! Delicious crispy zest sweet potato fries. It may not be as easy as frying up a batch but it’s loads more healthy and in my mind just as delicious!

I served mine along side some jerk chicken and corn, but if you are serving these as a snack and feeling a little fiesty, combine some curry powder and fat free sour cream for a delicious dipping sauce.

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