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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Lime-Garlic Dipping Sauce

Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Lime-Garlic Dipping Sauce

Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Lime-Garlic Dipping Sauce
by Victoria Challancin

I had a wonderful cooking class with my Mexican cooks yesterday.  Delightful in every way.  We prepared oh-so-many great dishes:  A veal-based beet borscht, a rich beef stew with horseradish and mustard served over Parmesan egg noodles, scallops and shrimp in a red grapefruit sauce, salad, cheesecake, and...baked sweet potato fries. Can you tell that I am a true Foodie?  I am, you know.  But I am also a Southern gal at heart, even though I haven't lived in the South in over 35 years and out of all that yum, what did I gorge on?  Yes, the sweet potato fries--thinking of my mother, who was born in Georgia and who would have loved them, with every bite.

This incredibly simple recipe is fast, delicious, and could be used as an appetizer or a side dish.  The dipping sauce, which is really a sort of quick aioli, is simply wonderful.  I used lemons, instead of the limes called for in the recipe, only because we have had yellow lemons, a rarity here in Mexico, available to us lately.  The sauce would be terrific on fish, chicken,  roasted vegetables, or a sandwich as well.  The optional (this was no mere option for me...) spiced salt was an added treat, though everyone in my class agreed that it screamed for a bit of ground chipotle, ancho or de árbol chile.

The original recipe can be found in a terrific new cookbook by former French-trained editor-at-large for Fine Cooking magazine, Susie Middleton.  Full of innovative vegetable recipes guaranteed to add a little umph to your menu with its many new options for interesting side dishes, this is a perfect modern cookbook--full of fresh, easy-to-prepare, and interesting recipes.  Middleton calls this particular recipe Sweet Potato "Mini Fries" with Limey Garlic Dipping Sauce and Spiced Salt;  I used the recipe exactly as printed in the book, only tweaking the name a tiny little bit.

Baked Sweet Potato Mini-fries with Lime Dipping Sauce and Spiced Salt
(Recipe from Fast, Fresh & Green by Susie Middleton, 2010)
Serves 2 to 3
Cook’s Notes:  One thing you should know: sweet potato oven fries, though they're addictive and delicious, do not get crispy. They will get crisp around the edges, but they stay moist in the middle. (That's part of their charm; I assure you, you will still love them.) The sauce is a quick version of the French sauce called aïoli, which is a garlicky mayonnaise usually spiked with lemon. I use good quality store-bought mayonnaise, lime zest, and lime juice for a fast, sassy sauce that's just as good on grilled fish or chicken as it is on sweet potato fries. The sauce recipe is very flexible:   add chopped cilantro or basil, chipotle chile in adobo sauce, cumin, coriander—I have even made a curry with honey sour cream sauce that is nice with the potatoes.

1 lb/455 g unpeeled sweet potatoes (about 2 small)
1/4 cup/60 ml extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt, and more for seasoning

Lime Dipping Sauce:

1/3 cup/65 g mayonnaise
1/2 tsp finely grated lime zest
1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
Pinch of kosher salt

Spiced Salt (optional):
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon paprika

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F/245 degrees C (Gas Mark 9). Line a large (18 x 13 x 1-in/45.5 x 33 x 2.5-cm) heavy-duty rimmed sheet pan with a piece of parchment paper.
Cut the sweet potatoes crosswise on a slight diagonal into 3/8-in/9.5-mm-thick slices. (If the sweet potato is very narrow at one end, you can cut slices at a very sharp angle at that end.) Cut each slice lengthwise into sticks between 1/4 and 3/8 in/6.5 and 9.5 mm wide. (They will only be about 2 in/5 cm long.) Put the sticks in a mixing bowl and combine thoroughly with the olive oil and 1 tsp salt. Spread the sweet potatoes out in one layer on the baking sheet, making sure to scrape all the oil and salt from the bowl onto them.

Roast for 20 minutes. Using a spatula, flip the sticks over and continue cooking, flipping once or twice more, until the fries are nicely browned (some in spots, some all over), about another 10 minutes.

To make the Lime Dipping Sauce, combine all the ingredients in a small bowl, whisking well to blend. Let sit for 10 to 15 minutes to let the flavors marry.

To make the Spiced Salt, stir the salt and all the spices together in a small bowl.
Sprinkle some of the spiced salt or more kosher salt on the fries (be generous and do not skip this step!), toss well, and serve with the dipping sauce.

Rocio, a fabulous cook, arranging the plate of sweet potato fries

The Spiced Salt, in three tiny wooden bowls

The spiced salt taken with an ever-unfortunate-for-food-photography flash

Victoria Challancin
Flavors of the Sun International Cooking School
San Miguel de Allende, México

©Victoria Challancin.  All Rights Reserved.


1 comment:


Buenos dias, Victoria! I have been very negligent in not posting a comment on your incredible food blog sooner. Simply said, your blog is outstanding in every way!
You are a true master at what you do and an inspiration to me. Many thanks for your beautiful and interesting postings. I look forward to following Flavors of the Sun for many more years. Best wishes and happy holidays! Saludos, Laura