Baked Goodness

Crispy Sweet Potato Fries

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3 photos
Photo cred – Jill Clark

Everyone loves sweet potatoes. They’re the better-tasting, more-attractive cousin of regular potatoes. Rich in vitamins, they provide you with all of the nutrients without the fat. Vitamin C, which helps maintain the skin’s youthful elasticity. Vitamin D, which influences the immune system and our energy levels. Sweet potatoes are also a good source of iron, which also helps your immune system and increases your body’s resistance to stress. Vitamin B6, magnesium, potassium - this food item is a super root for your body.

Also, who doesn’t love fries? Deep fried French fries are the fatty go-to for many Montrealers. We love anything deep fried, beer battered, or smothered in gravy.

Sadly, our bodies need more than grease. Cooking our favourite crispy fries at home never turns out like Pinterest promised. Lucky for you, I have the secret recipe for Pinterest-perfect crispy baked sweet potato fries.

  1. Set the oven to 425ºF. Select your sweet potatoes. Thoroughly wash your potatoes, then slice into fry-sized strips. It’s easier to cut the potato with the grain into disks first, then cut the disks into rectangles. To peel, or not to peel? Both ways work!
  2. The secret: soak your sweet potatoes for 60 minutes in cold water. Soaking the strips helps remove some of the starch. Starch retains water when baked, and can be responsible for soggy sweet potatoes. Remove your potatoes from the water. Dry thoroughly.
  3. Move your dried slices to a clean plastic bag. Add 1 teaspoon of brown rice flour for each sweet potato. Shake the bag until each slice is lightly dusted with flour. In this same step you can dust the fries with spices of your choice: cumin, cayenne, garlic and onion powder are good picks. However, NEVER add salt to your uncooked fries. Salt traps moisture in the fries, creating a mushy mess.
  4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange your slices evenly, but do not overcrowd the pan. Bake 10-15 minutes, flip, and watch for the last 10 minutes as needed. If you use tinfoil, remember to oil or spray the pan. I find that these fries turn out better with parchment paper rather than foil.
  5. When your fries are finished, turn off the oven, and open the door half way. Your fries will actually crisp even more if they cool in the oven! Salt your baked fries as needed. When cool enough to eat, remove and serve. Picturesque crispy fries ready for their Instagram close-up!

Usually I pair these fries with a steak and greens, or make a large platter for party snacks.

This time I tried something different: sweet potato nacho fries! Five minutes before my fries were finished, I added tomato, corn kernels, black beans, red onion, green pepper and shredded cheese. This creates a healthier alternative to classic nachos, with the same filling comfort. Substitute regular cheese for vegan cheese, or any of the toppings for your nacho favourites. These nachos taste great with salsa or spicy mayo.

While sweet potatoes are high in calories, they nourish your body with healthy fats that are released slowly through the bloodstream, balancing sugars and metabolising quickly. These crispy baked sweet potato fries are guilt-free, family friendly, flexible side or shareable plate, perfect for any diet.

 

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