If you take me out to some pubby-style restaurant and ask me to split a plate of fries (as everyone inevitably does at those places) my likely response is to groan, roll my eyes, and then polish off most of the plate before you have a chance to get near it. This result is way amplified if those fries are made out of sweet potatoes. Unfortunate, but that’s just the way it is. I’m glad I don’t spend all that much time at pubs these days.
I did not expect baked sweet potato fries to be anywhere near as addictive as crunchy, greasy, fried-fries. I was sorely mistaken. In fact, when these came out of the oven last week one dinnertime, my boyfriend was upstairs changing out of his work clothes, which means he was several minutes away from being dinner-ready. Okay, like two minutes, but that was enough to cause me to pace around the kitchen, stopping at the cookie sheet after every lap to steal one or two fries, all the while willing him to get downstairs before they were all gone. By the time he was ready I’d probably downed about a third of the batch (which was about three sweet potatoes in size).
These were better than any fried sweet potato fries I’ve ever had. Really! I don’t know why. Maybe it’s the seasonings, which add just the perfect hit of tang and heat. The cornstarch, I believe, also makes a big impact. It gives these fries a delectable, slightly crunchy coating that will kill all your fried-goods cravings instantly. I wasn’t immediately sure if this was going to work, because with the lime juice and the maple syrup you end up with a lot of liquid, which (1) has to cook off and (2) dissolves your cornstarch. Don’t worry about that! Just mix everything up really well and you’ll get enough of a cornstarch coating to give you some nice crispiness. When you transfer your sweet potatoes to a baking sheet, you will have some excess liquid. Don’t worry about that either – just leave it behind. I actually made these a second time, on which occasion I cut way too many potatoes (probably figuring once again I wouldn’t be able to stop). I couldn’t fit them all on my baking sheets, so I transferred the extras to a zippy bag along with the excess liquid and baked them up the next day. Still awesome. Yay!
- 1 medium sweet potato
- juice of ½ lime
- ½ tbsp. maple syrup
- ½ tbsp. olive oil
- 1 tsp. lime zest
- ½ tsp. cayenne pepper (for mild, more if you like it lots of heat)
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 1 tbsp. cornstarch
- Preheat oven to 450 and line baking sheet(s) with parchment paper.
- Cut potatoes into french-fry sized strips.
- Transfer to large bowl and add lime juice, maple, oil, lime zest, cayenne and salt. Toss to coat. Add cornstarch and toss some more to coat. (Remember not to worry if it dissolves.)
- Arrange sweet potatoes in a single layer on baking sheet(s). Bake 15 minutes, then flip and bake another 10-15 minutes, or to desired crispness.