Sweet, Sweet Taters (of the Fry Varietal)

 My first time ever having a sweet potato "fry" was at a now-defunct diner called Uncle Fud's somewhere between here and Findlay. They were, of course, deep-fried in that oh-so-lovely-restaurant-grade cooking oil, and crinkle cut, and mostly overcooked, but damn, were they good!  

Of course, knowing I don't own a deep fryer, nor do I want to eat fried foods all day, every day, I wanted to make them at home, in a mostly healthier manner. I cannot recall the precise recipe I found online back then, but it was something like this: 

Oven-Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Whenever I am in a pinch, and searching for recipes, Simply Recipes is usually a good starting point, and they usually are in the top rankings whenever you google anything recipe-related.  

My number-one hint for making the best, most consistent "fries" is to make sure they're cut evenly. These weren't and therefore did not cook evenly. The best way to get a consistent shape is to cut the previously peeled sweet potato into some format of a rectangle (it is a long potato!) so you have four smooth sides-

Then, slice that rectangle into four to six, or however many slabs, depending on your desired fry size, and cut each slab into four to six fries, also depending on your desired outcome. Disclaimer: I cannot draw a straight line on paper, nor digitally, but it was lovely color choice, closely matching the true color of the Ipomoea batatas

Pro tip: Give the scraps to your canine children, especially if you back the scraps on a low heat, and make them even chewier, or dice them to make a sweet potato hash. 

This is a picture of random slicing that results in randomly cooked/burnt fries. Don't do this, unless you like burnt fries. 

Seasoned here with skosher salt, and coarse-ground pepper, and coated with a tablespoon or two of oil. I cannot remember precisely what kind of oil I used, but I can tell you, indubitably, that you probably want to avoid olive oil when backing at seriously high temps, above 400F. The smell is atrocious!  Canola oil, or even an oil spray would work just fine.  

Assemble the fries on the baking sheet of your choice in a neat and orderly fashion to allow the heat to get everywhere with a modicum of efficiency. The link above calls for 450F (preheated) at 15-25 minutes, with a toss half way through. 

Dipping sauce = mayo, mustard, and honey, whisked. 

Here, you see the finished product before its descent into my stomach. 

I'll be honest, I'd never had sweet potatoes with anything but a metric fuqueton of sugar and marshmallows, and the like, until that first time at Uncle Fud's, so the salt/pepper thing freaked me out a bit. However, it was a fairly tasty concoction.  

This was also well before the arrival of air fryers, so I can't tell you the exact coordinates for that contraption, but if I ever do decide to make them in an air fryer, I'll update. Meanwhile, there are approximately 10,000 YouTube videos explaining air fryer cooking, so you're sure to find a suitable method there.  

These are great as a side, or solo, or even for a meatless meal, with a salad on the side. Enjoy. 😁


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