Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Sweet Potato Fries

French fries - a favorite, that's for sure. But, buy them at a fast food place and you might well get fries cooked in grease that's not quite hot enough, so they're soggy and full of grease. Then, there's always the questions of what kind of fat were those fries fried in? Melted lard makes for great taste, but is definitely unhealthy. Many commercial places are now being forced to quit using trans-fats for frying, again because of health concerns.

Make your fries at home, and you know what you're getting! These "fries" are really baked, so you're already using less fat. Also, they're tossed with a small amount of olive oil, so the fat you do eat is good for you! Finally, for the picky eaters in the house, these are sweet potato fries - a slight twist on french fries made from russet potatoes. These taste sweeter, so you won't miss the fried taste! An additional benefit of eating sweet potatoes is that they're lower than russets on the glycemic index, which means that your body assimilates the sugars in them more slowly, so you stay full longer.


2 yams or sweet potatoes
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
1/2 tsp chili seasoning (optional)


Preheat oven to 425 degrees. I like to use garnet yams - although I sometimes see them called sweet potatoes. Regardless of the name, they're the ones that have the bright orange flesh, and the deep red skin. Peel the sweet potatoes, then cut into 1/4 inch slices. Cut the slices into 1/4 inch long fry shapes. Toss the potatoes with the olive oil and sprinkle with the spices. Place the sweet potatoes on a non-stick baking pan, making sure that they're not too crowded together on the pan. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and turn the potatoes over, and continue baking for an additional 15 minutes.

Serves 4.

Stealthy Cooking Tip: Even deep fat frying can be healthy - if the fat is hot enough to quickly cook the food on the outside and not get absorbed into the food. However, for the home cook, baking is the easiest way to trim fat absorption while increasing taste. Be sure to preheat the oven - that way your fries will have the chance to cook all the way through. Also, make sure your fries aren't crowded on the pan, if they're too crowded they'll steam, rather than bake, and won't be as crisp on the outside (though they'll still taste good!).

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