Thursday, November 19, 2009

Baked Sweet Potato "Fries"

Sweet Potatoes! Yet another thing that I'm not usually a fan of. I know what you're thinking, does this girl eat anything? And the answer is, yes. Just not sweet potatoes. Or squash. Or nuts. Or eggs.

Many of the recipes in this book I've been halving, since it's just Dan and me and we usually can't eat six servings of something, no matter how good it is. This was one recipe though, that I didn't halve, because buying just one sweet potato seemed silly. Of course, that was before Dan found "Man Potato."

Allow me to demonstrate:

"Man Potato" is the one on the left. The scissors are there to give you some perspective.

Since this potato was freakishly large, I didn't use it in this recipe, but that definitely would have sufficed to feed both Dan and me, probably for the rest of the week. Instead, I used the two medium-sized potatoes to the right.  Here are all of my ingredients:

Sweet potatoes, light brown sugar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Pretty simple.

I preheated the oven and delegated the first task, peeling the potatoes, to Dan so my hands wouldn't turn orange:

Naked potatoes! 

While Dan halved the potatoes (so I wouldn't cut my fingers off) and began slicing them into wedges, I combined the brown sugar, salt, and pepper:

  Such a delicate task

The recipe says to slice each potato in half, and then cut each half into 3 spears, but  these seemed big, especially compared to the picture in Back to Basics, so we used our best judgment and cut some of the larger pieces into smaller ones:

Yes, they were initially even bigger than these

I placed the potato wedges on a sheet pan and tossed them with olive oil:

I sprinkled the brown sugar, salt, and pepper mixture evenly over the potatoes, ensuring each potato had some sugar on it, and that they were spread in a single layer:

 These baked in the oven for about 15 minutes. At that point, I turned them with a spatula, and put them back in the oven for another 5-10 minutes. Once out of the oven, I sprinkled them with more salt and plated:

Sorry this plate is a little messy. I'm not sure why I didn't take the time to clean it before taking the picture. I blame it on hunger.

Ina says these should be crispy, like fries, but ours were pretty soft. I would guess that they weren't sliced thinly enough because the longer you cook sweet potatoes, the softer they get. I added quite a bit of salt to mine, because I like the contrast of the sweet and savory, and as I've said before, I generally like my potatoes salty. These were much better than I expected, and even Dan, who is a big fan of just plain baked sweet potatoes said these were some of the best he has had. Generally when I think of sweet potatoes, I picture them as sickeningly sweet and with a consistency closer to baby food than mashed potatoes (appetizing, I know). These were soft, but not mushy, and if I could get them crispy, I think they would be really amazing.

Make this when: you're asked to bring the sweet potato dish to Thanksgiving this year. They'll be expecting the traditional sweet potato-mini marshmallow disaster, and you'll deliver this fabulous updated version instead. 

Next Course: Maple-Roasted Butternut Squash


  1. Umm do I see an alternative to the mashed sweet potatoes or whatever is currently on the menu for our thanksgiving dinner??? These, unlike the potatoes mentioned above, actually look like something I would eat! Just something to think about :)

    Favorite quote from the post was the caption under the peeled potatoes, "naked potatoes!"

  2. I think these surpass Paula's sweet potato balls (with the hidden suprise marshmallow) especially if you are cooking for anyone over the age of 12. So, if I can convince your granmother to forgo her choice I think we will go for these, and afterall she made "grilled" (in the oven)vegies including sweet potatos before they became the rage. I know that you will be cooking above and beyond Ina for your T-giving menu and your family (and mother) can't wait.


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