I’ve been trying to cook at home most nights lately (I got out of the habit when I got so busy last fall) and I’ve been trying to incorporate more veggies and whole grains into things… Last week I made a homemade pizza covered in vegetables (so good). Monday night I made a giant salad full of good things (corn, cucumber, tomatoes, peppers, avocado, etc.) and topped with steamed salmon and a basil vinaigrette.
Last night I decided to make veggie/chicken panini and I started thinking about sides while taking my walk. Suddenly, the idea of sweet potato fries was so incredibly powerful – it was like a craving. But I didn’t want to actually FRY (that would defeat the “healthy living” purpose of eating more veggies). So I came up with this super-tasty, easy, and deceptively healthy recipe!
Sweet Potato “Un”Fries
- Preheat your oven to 425 degrees (I didn’t do multiple batches or anything, so it might work just as well on 400 or 450).
- Start several quarts of water in a large pan on the stove; you want it GENTLY boiling. Add a little salt to help it get boiling faster. Supposedly it seasons whatever’s being cooked in it, but I don’t really notice a difference except in boiling times.
- Cut one yam/sweet potato into fry-shaped sticks (enough to cover your baking sheet and feed your family). I was only doing enough for one meal, so it took literally about a quarter of one large sweet potato. But be aware that it doesn’t slice very evenly or very well – so I had a lot of small, uneven bits. I saved those and will make mashed sweet potatoes tonight or tomorrow with dinner. There’s probably a better way to do this than with a large chef’s knife, but that’s what I had laying around. My fries were about 2 1/2 inches long by 1/2 an inch wide.
- When the water comes to a boil, dump all the “fries” in at once. It will stop boiling but that’s okay.
- Let the fries cook in the water for about 3-5 minutes. They’re ready when they’re fork tender but not falling apart!
- Drain and let the fries cool. In the mean time, prepare your other ingredients.
- You’ll need 3 separate plates/bowls. My hubby found it very helpful to use 2 bowls and a quart baggie! In the first one (the quart baggie, in his case), you’ll put flour and seasonings. Go light on the seasonings, but definitely add a little salt to balance out the sweetness of the potatoes. In the second bowl, mix up 2 or 3 raw eggs. You can add water or milk if you need more liquid. In the third, you’ll want panko bread crumbs.
- Working in small batches, first cover the cooled fries with seasoned flour (hubby dumped in a handful and shook the bag up). Then dip in the egg (Try to get egg all over the fries – raw flour tastes nasty and panko doesn’t stick unless there’s egg everywhere). Last, roll the fries in panko (I liked putting four or five in a bowl and sort of using a rolling motion to get them all covered).
- Lay the fries out on your largest cookie sheet. They shouldn’t touch but they don’t have to be too far apart. There’s no need to use any oil or cooking spray as long as the fries are covered in panko.
- Place in the oven and bake approx. 20 minutes or until golden brown and crispy!
These were even good today (warmed up in our work toaster oven). The panko is really satisfyingly crispy and you really feel like you’re eating something “bad”!