Thursday, April 28, 2011

Oven-Baked Sweet Potato Fries

We were heading off to Lake Tahoe for our annual Ager Family ski trip, and planning out the menu and shopping list. Every year, Joel and I go to the Truckee Safeway and buy about a hundred dollars worth of rib-eye steaks to barbecue, roast a bunch of russet potatoes, and make a big salad. But this year, there would be no baked potatoes for "Atkins Girl"; amazingly, potatoes are higher on the glycemic index than pure sugar - go figure! Burgers and Fries, no more. Sigh. Then I remembered: Sweet Potato Fries! Yay! I can have those! As I have gone on and on about before, sweet potatoes, despite their tasty, sweet nature, are low on the glycemic index, meaning that your body digests them into blood sugar slowly. Plus, they are PACKED with nutrients. And best of all, they are DELICIOUS. Bring 'em on!

So, dinner time came around. Best steaks ever. Plenty of baked potatoes (for everybody else) and I made a batch of sweet potato fries; guess which ones were wiped out?

Oven-Baked Sweet Potato Fries

* 2 pounds orange sweet potatoes (aka yams) about 3 large ones
* olive oil (about 1/4 cup)
* 1 Tbsp salt
* 1-2 Tbsp spice, spice blend, or spice combination of your choice: cumin, za'atar, chipotle powder, smoked paprika, Chinese five-spice, garam masala, cayenne, black pepper, cinnamon, chiles, Cajun seasoning, etc.

Pre-heat the oven to 450 F

Wash, dry, and trim off the ends of the potatoes, and remove any obvious blemishes.

Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise, then, laying the flat side down, cut each half into 4-8 wedges, depending on how big the potato is. The thinner the wedge, the more crispy it will be. If you like them more soft, make them bigger. If they are really long, cut them in half crosswise as well.

Put the wedges in a large bowl and drizzle them with the olive oil, then, using tongs, toss well to coat. Sprinkle them all over with the salt and spices, and toss well again until the seasoning coats the the wedges evenly.

Lay the wedges in a single layer on a large baking dish, being careful not to crowd too much. (If you crowd them, they won't brown as well, and will be more squishy than fry-like). If it is overly crowded, add a second pan.

Bake them for about 15-20 minutes, then, using a spatula, turn them all over. Return to the oven for another 15 or so minutes. When they are golden brown and tender, they are ready.