Monday, March 28, 2011

Roasted Sweet Potato Thingers

We belong to a local organic vegetable co-op so we always have a lot of fresh organic veggies in the house. This means I'm often figuring out ways to use up all this food before it goes bad. We love vegetables here but sometimes there's just more than we need. Tonight we're having smoked chicken with a brown sugar and spice rub for dinner and I happen to have these two ridiculously huge sweet potatoes.

I think sometimes people avoid cooking potatoes because they think they take a long time to cook. But when you cut them in skinny french fry-like fingers (or THingers, as my two youngest call them), toss them with oil and seasonings, and roast them in the oven, they're ready to eat in about 25 minutes. Oh c'mon, that's not long at all.

Cut the potatoes in slices and then in sticks about the thickness of a finger (thinger). These sweets are particularly huge so I cut them in half before slicing.
I had about 5 cups of fingers here. YMMV (Your Mileage May Vary)

Once they're all sliced up, put them in a bowl.

Here's where the magic happens. Since it's still too cold for fresh herbs from the garden, and because we're not able to spend extra for fresh herbs from the supermarket, I rely a lot on whatever I have on hand in the pantry. In this case I went for

onion powder
chili powder
ground thyme
celery salt
Cumin (not pictured. But I love the flavor of cumin with sweet potatoes)
olive oil

Whisk together 1/2 cup of olive oil with about half a teaspoon each of those seasonings. Pour it over the potatoes and toss them to coat.

Just use enough of the oil mixture to coat your potatoes. If you have extra leftover, whisk it with some vinegar or lemon juice and voila! You have salad dressing.
Incidentally, if we were making an Asian-inspired chicken, say Teriyaki, I would have chosen a more  Eastern flavor palette for these taters. It could have just as easily been

wasabi powder
ground ginger
orange zest
sesame oil

Next put the potatoes on a baking sheet and spread them out so they're not on top of each other. Sprinkle Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper on them. I also gave a quick sprinkle of parmesan cheese because that's how I roll.

Bake at 350 degrees (use the convection setting if you have one) until they're tender but not mushy. It should take about 20 minutes if you have them spread out well. As they're baking, you can get in there with a spatula and flip them around a bit to cook them evenly, but make sure you shake the pan to spread them out again. Don't be afraid to spear the biggest one on the pan and test to see if it's done. Then for the last 5 to 8 minutes, increase the temperature to 400 to really get them crispy. The end result will be a sweet potato fry with a tender inside and crispy outside. These are a yummy kid pleaser!

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