Spring is a time when we long for the fresh foods of the summer, but mostly we get the washed out veggies from the supermarket that still have the stink of diesel fumes from the miles they have been trucked to us. Often we resort to complicated meals full of starches to hide our longing for the taste of summer. Enter center stage…the sweet potato! The sweet potato is one of natures super foods. Packed with nutrients, it acts on our blood sugar in a different, better way than regular white potatoes, and it’s sweet, nutty, rich flavor can be like candy on the tongue. But sadly, the sweet potato is often regulated to the sad state of boiled down mush mixed with heaps of butter and topped with (yuck!) marsh mellow that we call a Thanksgiving dish. Who can give thanks for that? Not your digestive system, that’s for sure.
The sweet potato is easy to store. Kept in a cool place, like a basement or garage it can last for a very long time, especially if it has been dipped in bee’s wax. It can be seasonal any time! The sweet potato is easy to grow. Put it in a trench, cover it over, and dig it up 3, 4, or even 5 months later. I have eaten sweet potatoes that have been left in the ground over winter and then dug up before they sprouted in the spring. They are seasonal anytime! They are also cheap, delicious and, did I say? Packed with nutrients. So what do we do with the lowly sweet potato to make it shine like a star? The simplest thing possible. Bake it with salt and olive oil.
First get as many sweet potatoes as you need to feed your crew. Sometimes they are giant and one will feed 3, so gauge your guests, but remember….they taste better than you might think, AND they are especially good cold! So make plenty. Peal them of their outer skin.
Set the oven to 500F.
Next, cut them into either wedges or strips. The thickness will determine the time it takes to bake them. I like smaller strips, but too narrow and they will burn up.
I made this pile for three of us, with leftovers.
Next, put them in a big bowl and drizzle them with good quality olive oil, and a big pinch of salt. I always use Morton’s sea salt. It is thicker ground than regular table salt, and is better for you. I keep it in a small finger bowl and use my fingers to pinch out how much I need. A big pinch is about a teaspoon.
Spread the potatoes out evenly on a pan lined with tinfoil. They tend to stick, and I hate cleanup!
If you have to, use two pans. Put them in the 500 oven and cook for a while. You’ll need to check them regularly because the cooking time depends on the oven and the size of the fries. If you used two pans, make sure you switch their position in the oven every 5 minutes or so. Mine took about 20 minutes to cook until they were starting to brown and crispy. When you take them out of the oven, let them cool a few minutes before putting them in the serving dish. As they tend to stick, using your fingers to pick them off the tin foil is the easiest, so be careful not to burn yourself! Next, add a sprinkle of salt and serve! YUM!