I have perfected the art of the sweet potato fry. I've made sweet potato fries so many times that I have a very set formula for making them. I don't enjoy frying things, so I do mine in the oven. They're easy and tasty and go well with Cuban, Mexican and Indian food. :D
They're also good for holiday dinners. I just can't get on the "let's dump half a bag of brown sugar and some marshmallows into a pan with some sweet potatoes and maple syrup!" bandwagon. Sweet potatoes are sweet enough as is!
Step 1: Supplies!
- one large sweet potato
- sea salt (coarse)
- freshly ground black pepper, chunky
- good quality olive oil
- a peeler (optional)
- a sharp chef's knife
- a cutting board
- a large baking sheet (not pictured)
Step 2: Preheat the Oven and Prep the Sweet Potato!
Set the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
You can either peel the potato or leave the skin on - lately I leave it on every time. It adds nutrition and a nice chewy texture. :D
I don't worry about washing it, normally, but you can rinse it in the sink as long as you promise me you'll dry it off very, very well. If it's still wet the olive oil won't coat the fries as well, which will lead to soggy fries. And then you'll be disappointed with the fries and I'll be disappointed with you. :(
If your sweet potato has skinny ends, cut those off.
Step 3: Slice the Sweet Potato!
Most times, I will cut the sweet potato in half because they're normally very large.
Now, take a half of the sweet potato and cut it into large slices about 3/4 inch thick. You'll then cut the larger slices into fries. Your fries should be 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch thick.
Repeat this for the other half!
Sorry for the lack of action shots, I was doing this all by myself. :P
Step 4: Put the Fries on the Baking Sheet!
Just throw them all on there.
Sprinkle a good pinch of sea salt over them, and then apply a ton of freshly ground black pepper. I like to keep mine more chunky because it gives them a nice bite. :D
Drizzle with olive oil (Probably about 1/8 cup, I don't know, I just eyeball things.)
Now, mix it all together on the baking sheet. Make sure you're scooping the salt, pepper and oil from the bottom and mixing it in. Don't let the tastiness go to waste!
At this point you can add more olive oil if you want - just don't drown them. They should look glossy, but they shouldn't be sitting in a pool of olive oil.
Once everything's mixed, space out the fries on the baking sheet. Make sure they're all evenly spaced and not touching. They'll get soggy otherwise!
Step 5: Baking!
Then, take them out and flip them. I use my bare hands most of the time, but tongs work well too. (The first photo is after the first 15 minutes)
Once they're flipped, put them back in the oven for 10 minutes. :)
Both sides should now be dark brown and crispy and delicious. And hopefully spicy, if you followed my directions. Spicy is the way to go with sweet potato fries!
Keep in mind that I like mine REALLY dark and crispy. Should you want a lighter brown color, just reduce the cooking time a couple minutes for both sides.
Additional cooking tips:
- these will not turn out very crispy at all if you're cooking anything else in the oven, or if the fries are crowded too close together. They'll sweat instead of crisp!
- keep an eye on them because ovens are tricksy little things. You don't want them to get black.
- also, a lighter colored baking sheet is preferable - mine are very dark and I've started to have to cut my cooking time a lot to avoid getting them too dark.
- Feel free to cut them smaller and cook them for less time - 10 minutes for the first side and 8 for the second works well for thinner fries.