Baked Sweet Potato Fries and Sauce

Ok so let's get real here.  If you know me, then you know that I love fries.  Especially when I was pregnant, I really loved them.  And pretty much my favorite kind are sweet potato fries, so of course I wanted to make these at home, but I wanted to have a healthier version rather than a deep-fried dish and luckily they taste so good baked.  I make these all the time as a side dish for dinner.  Sometimes I even add grilled onions and they are delicious.  I like this version because the cilantro and parmesan cheese give it a little twist than the traditional flavors and they compliment the sauce really well.  And big news!! I discovered the secret to making nice and crispy sweet potato fries at home that don't turn out all soggy!  It's all about soaking them in water before you bake them, so wash and cut them up then let them soak for awhile in water and you will be amazed at how much better they are.  I guess the water takes the starch out of them and the starch is what makes them soggy when baked.  Great idea, huh?!  Let me know how much you like them in a comment below.

OVEN BAKED SWEET POTATO FRIES

serves 2-4

| INGREDIENTS |

2 large sweet potatoes

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 teaspoon each: paprika, salt, onion powder, chili powder, cumin

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder and black pepper

1/2 teaspoon sugar [optional]

fresh parmesan and cilantro sprinkled on top to taste

| FRY SAUCE |

1/4 cup mayo

2 tablespoons ketchup

1/2 teaspoon lime juice

1/8 teaspoon each: onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, celery salt


| DIRECTIONS |

Wash and dry the sweet potatoes and cut off the ends.  Chop the potatoes in half lengthwise.  Cut each half lengthwise again several times, trying to make each section about 1/4 inch thick.  Cut each section into 1/4 inch strips.  Fill a medium bowl with cold water and place all the potato strips into water to soak for about 1-2 hours.  When they are almost done, preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Once potato strips have soaked in the water long enough, pour the potatoes into a strainer to remove all the water.  Then place the cut potatoes in a large bowl and toss with just enough olive oil to get them completely coated.

In a separate small bowl, mix all the seasonings together.  Sprinkle on the potatoes and toss to coat well.  Spread potatoes out in a single layer on a baking sheet, careful not to have them touching.  Bake for 10 minutes, remove from oven and turn over all of the fries.  Bake 10 more minutes.  While fries are baking, mix together all ingredients for the sauce.  When fries are done, remove from oven, sprinkle with coarse sea salt, cilantro, and parmesan cheese if desired.  [if you want your fries crispier then increase the cook time by about 5-10 minutes on each side]