I have the good luck of being one of the 3 or so people in the world who does not like French fries (though the time I had them smothered in a gorgonzola mayonnaise was a whole different story of unabashed gooey-greasy deliciousness). A bizarre recessive genetic quirk perhaps. A couple of years ago, though, I was serendipitously introduced to a fry of a different color that totally revolutionized my world. That day I was playing in an ultimate Frisbee game, but during a critical moment I was on the sideline, cheering for my teammates and yelling out perceptive bits of advice about what they should be doing instead of what they were doing. Suddenly I heard a ruckus behind me, and before I could turn to see what was happening BLAM! a guy playing in a game on the field next to ours dove directly into the back of my head. I was on the ground instantly. When the fireworks and darkness cleared away from my eyes, I popped back up onto my feet to show everyone that I was okay…whereupon I toppled over again.
I had a concussion. But after a bit I started to feel better, even to the extent that I still joined everyone for dinner at the pub next to the fields where we had been playing. While at dinner, suddenly a plate of sweet potato fries materialized in front of me. The guy who had knocked me over had them sent over to apologize for the head trauma and minor memory loss he had caused (I don’t think they were important memories anyway). I had never had, or even heard of, sweet potato fries before, but the moment I took one bite I was a convert. I have been unable to resist them ever since.
I quickly realized that there was no need to make field trips to local pubs every time I wanted a sweet potato fry fix. I could easily make them at home instead as oven fries. The natural sweetness and mellow flavor of sweet potatoes is brought out by roasting them in the oven and is deliciously augmented by a sprinkle of salt (you know, the whole addictive salty-sweet flavor combination). They really don’t need anything more in my opinion. Plus, they’re pretty good for you – they have vitamin A up the wazoo, for example.
To make sweet potato oven fries, preheat the oven to 425?F. Take a couple of sweet potatoes, wash them, and then peel off any areas that look particularly dirty or inedible. I leave the rest of the skin on. Then cut them in half the long way, and then into wedges. If you like, you could also cut them into cubes or discs – whatever suits your fancy. Put them in a bowl with a Tablespoon, or so, of olive oil and toss them to coat them. Then sprinkle with salt. Spread them out on a baking sheet or in a baking pan making sure each piece has a little bit of space, otherwise they’ll steam instead of roasting. Stick them in the oven and let them roast for about 30 minutes until you can easily spear through one with a fork. Flip them over once or twice during the roasting period. I, personally, think they make a good side dish for absolutely anything. Serve them and a salad along side sandwiches or burgers, French food, or Indian food, or Northern European food (I just had them with salmon cakes), Southern BBQ, your Thanksgiving turkey, you name it