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Baked Sweet Potato Fries One, Two, Three Ways


Written by Rebecca Peters-Golden

The sweet potato is one of those hallowed foods that is both versatile and bold. It can be sweet or savory, it’s an inexpensive and filling ingredient, and it’s featured in a number of diverse ethnic cuisines.

George Washington Carver even proved the versatility of the sweet potato during a 1921 presentation in which he referenced more than 100 uses for sweet potatoes—only some of which were culinary (sweet potato boot black, anyone?)

So when the weather starts to cool off and these orange gems begin to pile up at every farmer’s market stand, I’m pleased as punch to incorporate them into, well, everything.

baked sweet potato fries three ways
Photo: Casey Barber

Sweet potato hash under a fried egg makes a delicious fall breakfast. A baked sweet potato topped with roasted garlic, chives, and honey sour cream is heaven.

Sometimes I even put a layer of mashed sweet potato in macaroni and cheese.

But today, I want to talk about sweet potato fries. The first time I ever had them was in high school in the late ’90s, at a vegetarian restaurant in Ann Arbor.

They were thin and crispy and served with what would now be called an aioli but was, at the time, just a much-worshipped secret sauce.

hey were salty and rich and double fried and I shoved them in my mouth at warp speed in an attempt to get more of them than whoever I was sharing them with.

baked sweet potato fries three ways
Photo: Casey Barber

Since then, sweet potato fries have outlasted their trendiness and are now a regular staple of burger-and-fry cuisine. And I still love them. I still love them so much.

But … I’m not in high school anymore and I can’t eat a big basket of double-fried potatoes and mayonnaise without basically feeling like I’m going to die.

So now I roast them. And I’ll be damned if I don’t actually like them better this way.

What bit of crispness is lost is more than made up for by how many different flavor combinations I can enjoy, and how strongly the sweet potato flavor shines through when they aren’t fried.

These fries can be sweet or savory, they can be a side dish or the base of something else, and, yay!, I don’t end up curled in a ball after eating too many of them.

Here are my three favorite variations, but there are so many more!

baked sweet potato fries three ways! - via www.www.goodfoodstories.com

Baked Sweet Potato Fries Three Ways

Yield: 1 serving of each variety
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

How do you make baked sweet potato fries even better? By topping them with flavorful blends like spicy maple, asiago pesto and cocoa bacon.

Ingredients

Basic Sweet Potato Fries

  • 1 medium sweet potato (about 1 pound), scrubbed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Asiago Pesto Topping

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 3 tablespoons finely grated Asiago cheese
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced

Sweet and Savory Maple Topping

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon good maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

Cocoa Bacon Topping

  • 2 slices bacon
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Instructions

To bake the fries:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a large sheet pan with foil and place it in the oven to preheat as well.
  2. Slice the potato into batons. If you have a mandoline or slicer, by all means, go ahead and use it, but you can very easily cut them by hand like this:
  3. Cut a slice off each narrow ends of the potato to create 2 flat surfaces, then slice lengthwise through the potato.
  4. Slice each half lengthwise into 4 or 5 1/2-inch-wide strips, then slice those strips in half as needed to make 1/2-inch batons. They will shrivel a bit as they cook, so don't make them too thin right now.
  5. Toss the fries with the oil and spread them evenly on the preheated sheet pan.
  6. Bake for 15-25 minutes, flipping them once or twice to prevent sticking and to get even color on all sides. They're done when they're easily pierced with a fork but still maintain their shape. Better to take them out a touch too soon, since the residual heat will soften them as they stand.
  7. Toss the fries with any of the following flavor variations, or create your own!

To make the asiago pesto topping:

  1. Whisk the salt, paprika, and white pepper together in a large bowl.
  2. Stir the cheese, parsley, and garlic together in a separate bowl.
  3. Toss the hot baked fries with the spices in the bowl, then pile them onto a plate and sprinkle the pesto over them so it's evenly distributed.

To make the maple topping:

  1. Whisk the salt, cumin, thyme, coriander, ginger, and cayenne together in a large bowl.
  2. Toss the baked sweet potato fries with the spice blend in the bowl, then pile them onto a plate.
  3. Drizzle the maple syrup over the fries and and sprinkle the parsley on top to finish.

To make the cocoa bacon topping:

  1. Cook the bacon until crisp (either in a pan on the stovetop, in the microwave, or on a rimmed baking sheet in the oven along with the fries).
  2. Finely chop the cooked bacon and reserve.
  3. Whisk the cocoa powder, chili powder, salt, and pepper together in a large bowl.
  4. Toss the baked sweet potato fries with the spice blend in the bowl, then pile them onto a plate.
  5. Sprinkle the fries with the chopped bacon.

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3 Comments

  1. My current favorite toss for sweet potato stix combines shallots, finely chopped candied ginger, dill and salt. I like the shallots and ginger to get crispy.

  2. Had to be Seva. I survived having a vegan girlfriend off their sweet potato fries and their roasted vegetables and goat cheese salad.

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