If I couldn’t oven-fry sweet potatoes, I probably wouldn’t eat them at all. I find them too sweet, too mushy, too cloying and too dense to fall in love with when they are roasted or baked or steamed or boiled. Argue with me all you want (better yet, send recipes!) but that’s really how I felt about them, until oven fries changed my whole perspective.
Let’s face it, fried foods taste good, no matter what. I mean, how could clams EVER be a kid’s menu item if they weren’t breaded and fried? Leandro won’t even look at them raw, but coat them in crumbs and plunge them in a deep fryer and watch them disappear! Don’t even get me started with French fries…crispy outside, creamy inside, the perfect vehicle for ketchup…Lord have mercy. Fried foods, if not fundamentally good, are fundamentally delicious.
And so it is with me and sweet potatoes, slice them into mini-two-by-fours and fry them up and I am singing their praises while wiping my mouth with my sleeve.
But the other facts to face are A) I am terrible at frying things and B) in today’s health-speak, fried foods are the devil’s spawn and hardly worth the guilty pleasure (especially if Point A holds true…).
So, if at first you don’t succeed, fry fry in the oven….
Thus this delicious recipe, adapted from a Cook’s Country recipe for perfect oven-baked potato fries…the secret, my friends, is in the microwaving and blotting of the potatoes before baking…get out some moisture and let it affect the starch and you’ve got yourself a crisp-on-the-outside, fluffy-on-the-inside stick of salty, sweet deliciousness that is hard to stop eating.
You can also try my previous recipe for oven-fried sweet potatoes – more seasoning and less prep — I myself will be combining the two soon…see what you come up with!
4-5 Sweet Potatoes, peeled and sliced into ½-inch thick fries
5 Tbs vegetable oil
1 Tbs cornstarch
1 tsp salt
Heat oven to 450⁰F. Get ready to MICROWAVE potatoes (yes, microwave – it gets the moisture out and allows starch granules to absorb moisture and therefore get fluffy). Place potatoes in a bowl, wrap tightly with plastic wrap and microwave until the edges become translucent (3-5 minutes), shaking halfway through. Cool potatoes on a cooling rack and blot with paper towels – you really want them as dry as possible.
Place 4 Tbs oil in a rimmed baking sheet and warm it in the oven until just rippling/smoking (5-7 minutes). Whisk remaining tablespoon of oil in a bowl with cornstarch and salt. Add potatoes and coat thoroughly.
Arrange potatoes in a single layer on the hot baking sheet and bake until well-browned and crisp (25-35 minutes) flipping potatoes halfway through cooking. Transfer to a paper towel-covered plate and blot oil with more paper towels and serve.