Sweet potato home fries 1

Sweet potatoes: Everyone says they’re a superfood.  They’re high in fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, potassium, and manganese, and they can also help stabilize your blood sugar  – and probably do your taxes, wash your windows, and  tell the busybody in the cube next to you at work to mind her own business and not wear so much perfume and maybe enough with the cat stories, already.

But did you know that they’re also delicious?  I mean, not if you crap them all up Thanksgiving-style with brown sugar and marshmallows.  I mean if you really do them up properly, bearing in mind that they are already sweet.  Unless you plan to serve them as dessert, there is no reason to make them sweeter.  Instead, you want to bring out the existing sweetness with a spicy, salty, savory counterpoint that will make them super indeed.

Sweet Potato Home Fries

Preheat your oven to 450°.  Don’t be afraid of high heat; sweet potatoes desperately want to turn mushy, and if you want to have any hope of crisping up the outsides, you need to blast them.

Assemble your ingredients: sweet potatoes, olive oil, and the spice blend of your choice (I like cumin, dried oregano, paprika, sometimes a little cayenne pepper, and Lawry’s seasoned salt – without which, good Chicago girl that I am, my kitchen would fall down).

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Peel the sweet potatoes and cube them to a roughly uniform size, about half to three-quarters of an inch, and put them in a large bowl.

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Add a hefty glug of the olive oil, as well as a generous shake of each of the seasonings.  It’s pretty hard to overseason these bad boys; sweet potatoes are bland and sugary and can stand up to a lot of strong arguments from the salty/spicy/savory camp.  Definitely shake on more than you think you’ll need the first time.

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Give the bowl a good toss to get everything evenly coated, and then turn out onto a foil-lined cookie sheet sprayed with nonstick spray.  Don’t skip the nonstick spray – sugary, remember?  They want to weld to everything in sight when they caramelize.

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Bake them for about 15 minutes or until you can start to smell them.  After 15 minutes, it’s best if you give them a turn, lest the bottoms start to get charred… but I must admit, sometimes I forget, and they’re still good.  Better if they’re even, though!

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Pull them after another 10-15 minutes.  The outsides should be dry to the point of crispiness, and caramelized to a middling-dark brown.  All the salty/spicy/savory goodness is concentrated here, on the crust.  The insides will be soft, sweet, and fluffy, producing a flavor explosion in your mouth in a totally non-porny sense.  (Well, non-porny apart from the noises you might be making when you eat them.)

These are an excellent accompaniment to anything grilled, particularly steak.  They keep fairly well, although you will rapidly sacrifice crispiness on the oustsides.  The best way to crisp them back up when reheating is with hot fat… but that’s another post.

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