Sometimes in life, we embark upon a quest. A noble pursuit of glory that takes us on an unforgettable journey, forging a path toward our ultimate destiny and the greater good of all mankind. It shapes us, challenges us, builds our character and strength. For some, the quest is providing food to the poor. For some, it’s curing an incurable disease. For some, it’s inspiring children to pursue their dreams.
And then there’s me. Me and my sweet potatoes.
For as long as I can remember, I have been caught up in the baffling conundrum that is the sweet potato fry. If it’s baked in the oven, it’s healthy, but soft and mushy. If it’s deep-fried in oil, it’s crispier than the crispiest thing in crispyland, but it’s a calorie-laden gauntlet, unveiling just how little self-control any of us actually possesses. There’s simply no way you can have it all—or so I thought.
Several days ago, while blog-hopping around the internet, I came across this amazing article at The Art of Doing Stuff, which outlines a way in which one can have the healthiness of oven-baked french fries, but the crispy texture of the deep-fried goodies. Follow me along on this photographic journey and you, too, will be enlightened.
It’s a simple equation really. First, you prep a bunch of sweet potatoes…
Once you’ve got your sweet potato fries all sliced up into whatever thickness you prefer, the top secret magic starts to happen. In a plastic bag, dump the fries and a poof of cornstarch.
Shake it all around.
Add a spot of olive oil…
…and shake it all again.
Space them evenly on a baking sheet—if they’re too close together, they’ll steam instead of crisp. Not what we want.
From there, it’s just a quick trip to the oven before you end up with a plate of these beauties!
Crisp, browned, gorgeous steak fries in all their sweet potato-y glory. Pair them with a dollop of super-easy Sriracha mayo dip and you’ve got something beyond delicious. Quest completed.
I tell ya, if I had a penny for every time I’ve said “quest” and “crisp” in this blog post…
Anyway, as for your own quest, before you embark upon writing that Pulitzer-Prize-winning novel of the century, make a plate of these as a warm-up. Even brilliant people like yourself need their yummy vitamins.
Sweet Potato Oven Fries with Sriracha Mayo Dip
Recipe adapted from The Art of Doing Stuff
Sweet Potato Oven Fries
2 large sweet potatoes
2 tablespoons cornstarch, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
salt and pepper, to taste
Sriracha Mayo Dip
1 cup mayonnaise
3-4 teaspoons Sriracha sauce, to taste
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking pan with non-stick aluminum foil, or regular aluminum foil coated well with cooking spray. Set aside.
Rinse the sweet potatoes, scrubbing the dirt off the skins with a brush. Dry, then peel. Cut each sweet potato in half. Cut each of those pieces in half. Then cut each of those pieces in half.
Note: This recipe is more geared towards thick-cut, steak fries, with a crisp exterior and soft interior. If you want thin fries that are 100% crisp all the way through, cut each potato as small as you’d like. Just keep an eye on them in the oven, as they may take less time to cook.
Place half the potatoes in a large plastic bag and add 1 tablespoon cornstarch. Seal the bag and shake it all around to evenly coat the potatoes with cornstarch. Open up the bag and add 1 tablespoon olive oil, then sealing and shaking again until coated.
On the baking sheet, evenly space the fries with plenty of room in between each one, so they get crispy instead of steamed. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste. Place in the oven. After 15 minutes, use a pair of tongs to flip each fry and return to the oven for another 5-10 minutes, depending on how dark you like your fries. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
Prepare the other half of the potatoes in this same way—coating, cooking, flipping, etc.
While the final batch of potatoes are in the oven, prepare the Sriracha mayo dip by whisking the mayonnaise and Sriracha sauce in a small bowl until well combined. Chill.
Serve the sweet potato fries warm, with Sriracha mayo dip.