Sweet potato fries – who knew! Perhaps I am way behind the times. In fact, I know I am. I do the same thing with music. Way after it is popular, I find it and think it is amazing, I tell everyone I know and they respond, with, “yeah, Jess, obviously.” Regardless, I get excited.
I fell in love with Nirvana in 2003 during my first semester of college, then Fiona Apple a year or so later. Come to find out they were all the rage in the 90s, but I was beyond in love with Hanson at the time so I assume that is why I missed the boat. I remember being in awe flipping through my little sister’s CD collection, realizing she was way ahead of me. She had owned all the music I was just finding out about for years.
Back to sweet potatoes. I’ve had some fears about them. I wasn’t sure what to do with them, how to cook them, what to eat them with. They seemed too sweet. I’m a savory palleted girl when it comes to non-desserts. My mom was also very into them, which naturally made me questions them. As time goes on I realize more and more how smart she is. And how (even against my own incredibly strong will) she managed to instill an appreciation for sprouted seeds, organic (thin-skinned) produce, grass-fed meats, lentils, whole grains, etc. As a kid, I thought all of that was just yuk. I wondered why my mother couldn’t just get the Gushers like the other parents. I just wanted to be like everyone one else. But I wasn’t, and she wasn’t, and when it comes down to it, it makes sense that I instinctively question her beliefs. I was raised to wonder, to question authority. And now, at 33, I love her more for it.
So I questioned sweet potato fries, and sweet potatoes in general. I know they have been all the rage for years now. Working from home has been a big lifestyle change and I’ve been feeling heavy from the lack of movement. I’ve been trying to shift up my diet. Making a point to get out for walks and do my yoga. When I was teaching I was on my feet all day, burning calories without thinking about it. Since August, I have been sitting at my computer day after day working on the Kickstarter campaign for my cookbook, #AllergicToEverything. It occurred to me that playing with my food choices might help with the heaviness. Strangely enough, Kickstarting a cookbook takes up so much time that I found myself relying more on easy foods, rather than cooking. When I realized this I was pretty taken back. But now that I am conscious of this, I get to make choices.
I chose to try sweet potatoes, in the form of fries. I bought just enough to try them once and on my next trip to the grocery store I found myself buying more. It seems my body-pallette-mind liked them.
As you will see in the pictures (apologies in advance, from one human to another), I did burn them, but after tossing the too-burnt-to-consume ones, Joaquin and I ate a satisfying and refreshing dinner that did not leave either of us feeling heavy. And most importantly, it was delish. And as always, allergen-free.
#AllergicToEverything® Baked Sweet Potato Fries
A treat on their own, or a lush addition to a bunless burger. Able to be eaten on just about any diet. Sweet potato is a great source of dietary fiber, vitamin B6, vitamin C, beta-carotene, manganese, and complex carbohydrates, which work together to produce anti-inflammatory magic. For food allergy collectors like myself, if sweet potatoes help heal inflammation and they taste great, we should eat them!
Appetizer, Side Dish, Snack
American, Comfort Food
Servings: 4 people
Sweet potatoes, sliced about 1/2" thick
Olive oil (or avocado oil)
Fresh ground black pepper
Sea salt, just enough to season lightly (see my favorite kind in the notes)
Bowl for tossing
Baking sheets (1 or 2 depending on amount)
Tinfoil to cover the baking sheets (and eliminate extra dishwashing!)
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Locate someone who likes to peel (and chop) sweet potatoes.
Have them rinse the sweet potatoes in the sink, then with a vegetable peeler, remove the skin from the sweet potatoes. Next, slice them into 1/2" thick pieces, like french fries. (See notes on the skin and sizing below).
In a mixing bowl, combine the fries, oil, garlic, thyme, pepper, and a small pinch of sea salt. Toss well, making sure all the sweet potatoes get oiled up.
Line your baking sheet(s) with Tinfoil, so you don't have to do extra dishes, then spread the fries out in a single layer. Use another baking sheet if they do not all fit on one tray.
Bake at 450 degrees for about 30 minutes. It's a good idea to check them at 25 minutes, so they don't burn like mine did!
Remove the sweet potato fries when they are golden and crisp, finish with another small pinch of sea salt.
Serve with or without your favorite dipping sauce. I like a ketchup-dijon combo but they are also incredible on their own!
- What if I like thicker steak-fries or potato wedges? I wrote the recipe for the style of fries I love, the little crispy guys. Feel free to make them thicker, you may need to add a little cooking time, just keep an eye on them because when they burn, they burn fast!
- Do I really have to remove the skin? If you know the answer, please comment below! My guess is that they would be just as delicious with the skin on (like most other potatoes) and if I hadn't had Joaquin offer to peel them for us, I personally wouldn't have taken the time to remove the skins. Lucky for me, he was willing to put in the extra work because they turned out great. Next time, I'm gonna go skin-on, and when I do I'll let you know how it goes!
- Sea Salt as a kitchen staple:
- Korean Sea Salt - my everyday seasoning sea salt. If you are in the Oakland area, we buy ours (in a massive 6lb bag) at Koreana Plaza. If not, try your local Asian Market, if you don't have one, you can easily have this Korean Sea Salt delivered to you! It is both Kosher and very coarse (which makes it great for brining and fermenting). Storage Tip: At our house, we keep ours in a granite mortar and pestle bowl of it out for everyday cooking uses. That way we can grind it up as fine as we'd like depending on the recipe!
- Maldon Sea Salt Flakes - my favorite finishing sea salt. While we are talking about salt, I thought I would just mention this one because I love it. It's an awesome gift for foodies, I bought my mom a box last year for Mother's Day. I use it sparingly because it is a very salty salt. When a recipe calls for salt, I stick to my Korean Sea Salt and use this as a finishing touch to boost the flavor of a dish just before serving.
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