[This week’s Lucky Comestible is sweet potatoes; here’s part 2 in the series. ]
A few weeks ago, I hosted a potluck for friends and promised to provide all of the recipes from the evening on this blog. And while I’ve done pretty well on most of the others, I hadn’t supplied this one for sweet potato “fries,” partly because it’s so simple I feel it doesn’t require its own recipe (just instructions). However, this past weekend when The CFO came to visit, we had brunch at a local haunt and ordered the sweet potato fries with miso gravy. Well, I was determined to reproduce that gravy! So I’m posting my own version, with not one, not two, but THREE variations on the fries.
I first tasted sweet potato fries (real ones–literally fried, in fat, and lots of it) many years ago, before I hit my 4th decade and, therefore, before I knew the true meaning of the word, “heartburn.” Nowadays, deep-fried anything is anathema to me, because hey, as someone born in the Year of the Dog, I can easily be classically conditioned. All it took was one or two repetitions of the stimuli “deep fried” and “one portion ingested by me” paired with the response “mega heartburn,” and it was sayonara to fried foods in my diet.
These oven-baked “fries” are much lighter (which means you can eat more!) and, if baked correctly, still provide the exterior crunchiness and interior smoothness that is characteristic of the traditional sweet potato fries. Most of the time, I just toss these with a combination of olive oil, garlic salt, chili powder, cayenne, cumin, and curry powder, for a sweet/spicy mix that’s divine (and is Version One). When paired with the miso gravy, however, something a little more demure is called for, as the gravy is quite assertive on its own.
Given all the amazing health benefits of sweet potatoes (more of which I discussed yesterday), I’ve decided to include this recipe as part of Sweetnicks‘ ARF/5-A-Day Roundup this week. (In fact, I was sure they’d be on her list of top-20 antioxidant-rich foods, but was surprised to find they’re not! Won’t stop me from eating them, though. . . ).
Sweet Potato “Fries” with Miso Gravy
These are quick, easy, and great as a side dish or appetizer. Either version works well with the gravy; if you’re more of a ketchup lover, try the spicy ones, mentioned above. In any case, make more than you think you’ll need–they shrink a little while baking, and you’re going to want seconds.
Fries, Version Two:
3-4 sweet potatoes (about 1 per person as a side dish), peeled and cut into thin wedges
about 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
about 1/4 cup sesame seeds
Fries, Version 3:
3-4 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into thin wedges
about 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. garlic salt
For the fries: Preheat oven to 425F. Line a rimmed cookie sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, toss the wedges with the olive oil. Sprinkle with remaining ingredients and toss again to coat. Place the fries in a single layer on the cookie sheet and bake 35-40 minutes, until crispy on the outside. (You can turn them over about midway through for more even browning, but it’s not essential). Makes 3-4 servings.
Miso Gravy (adapted from About.com):
2 Tbsp. light miso paste
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
6 Tbsp. light spelt flour
1-1/2 cups vegetable broth or stock (unsalted)
1 Tbsp. organic cornstarch, if needed
pepper, to taste
In a small heavy-bottomed pot, blend the miso and oil to a creamy paste. Add the soy sauce and nutritional yeast and mix well. Slowly mix in the flour until you have a thick paste.
Stir in the broth a tablespoon at a time until you have a smooth mixture that is almost liquid. Add the rest of the broth.
Heat over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and bubbles. Lower heat to a simmer and allow to bubble for one minute. If gravy is not thick enough for your taste, take about 3 Tbsp. of the gravy and transfer to a small bowl. Mix with about 1 Tbsp. cornstarch, then return this mixture to the pot and blend well. Allow to simmer another minute or so to thicken up. Season to taste with pepper. Makes about 1-3/4 cups.
Note: The gravy tends to be somewhat salty, due to the combination of miso AND soy sauce. If you prefer a less-salty version, you can omit the soy sauce, or simply add a bit more stock and flour to the mixture.
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Other posts in this series: