Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Sweet Potato Oven Fries

When the weather turns chillier at the beginning of October, I automatically start to give the cold shoulder to certain sections of the grocery store. I bypass the bananas and strawberries, straight up ignore the green beans and eggplants and land squarely in front of the displays of root vegetables and various squashes. And then, I start to obsessively create every recipe I can get my hands on that involves them, and in particular, the butternut squash and sweet potato varieties.

I have made some variation of everything involving one of these two items: biscuits, chili, at least seven soups, pie, various side dishes, warm salads, and even Shepard's pie. But one of my favorite ways to enjoy the latter item is in the form of fries. Growing up in Carlisle, I was first introduced to sweet potato fries at a restaurant called Scalles. To this day, they remain as one of my favorite variations (however, I should note that they were bested in Charlottesville), and I have always tried to recreate their incredibly crispy texture at home. Given that Scalles probably has access to a deep fryer (and I will never in my life purchase one after seeing this), I have to work on that crispy texture in the oven. And just recently, I made the best batch ever by using the method demonstrated in the Smitten Kitchen cookbook: parboiling.

-at least two sweet potatoes (look for long slender ones)
-olive oil
-salt and pepper

-Peel the sweet potatoes and then slice into your desired fry shape. I like them to be thin, but whichever way you go, try to make them all about the same size.
-Place the fries in a pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, and allow to boil for about five minutes. The potatoes should be sturdy, but able to be pierced with the tip of a paring knife.
-Drain and place on a cutting board or plate in a single layer. Pat dry with paper towels.
-Meanwhile, have then oven pre-heating to 450 degrees. Oil a baking sheet with olive oil as you would oil a frying pan for an egg. When you start to drain the fries (above) slip the baking sheet into the oven. Let the sheet heat up for about five minutes.
-When ready, remove the baking sheet from the oven, tip the dry fries onto the sheet (you should hear a satisfying hissss), toss with ~1 tablespoon of olive oil (depends on how many you are making - you do not want to over-do it on the oil), and sprinkle generously with salt and sparingly with pepper.
-Roast for twenty-five minutes in a single-layer, tossing at the ~10 and ~20 minute mark.
-Remove from the oven and enjoy plain or with your choice of topping.

So they're a little more time consuming, but the crispy texture that results is well worth the extra effort. I served mine with a chipotle ranch dressing and some apples.

Looks like a pretty good Friday night if you ask me! Enjoy. :) xx

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