Garlic Parmesan Sweet Potato Fries with Pesto Mayo / by Chelsea Zwieg

Now that you've got your burger from Monday, it's time for some fries, right? Sweet potato fries are one of my very favorite things in the world. If they are on a menu, I will be ordering them. Additional charges, be damned. And why is it that they always cost more? Is it because sweet potatoes are really more expensive? Or is it because the menu making head honchos know that sweet potato suckers like me will shell out that extra dollar every single time. Well, jokes on you kids, because I can make my own. 

Way, way back in the day, when The Whole Bite was just a baby of a blog, I posted my method for making truly crispy oven baked sweet potato fries. I would link back to that, but blog posts from 2 years ago are maybe not my best work. So I'll just hit you with some french fry making tips all over again. 

There are 3 keys to crispy sweet potato fries (or any oven fries): Cut. Soak. Starch. 

First, the cutting. The fries need to be thin and uniform. If they are thicker than 1/4" they will never get crispy. And if you have some really fat ones and some little nubs, they will cook unevenly which means you will have half burnt and half mushy. And maybe two crispy ones, to be fair. I like to cut a bit off the side of a potato so that it stands without wobbling, and then slice the potato lengthwise at about 1'4". This will leave you with several long 'boards' that are the length and height of the potato but the width of a fry. I then lay those flat and cut them into thin matchsticks. It might take a little bit of time, but trust me: it's so worth it. 

Next, the soak. Once you have your even, uniform, beautiful little matchsticks, submerge them in a bowl of cold water and let them sit for at least an hour. This pulls out the excess starch and sugars that will keep the potatoes form crisping.

Finally, the starch. Once the fries are drained and dried, they get a very light coating of cornstarch. This will help the outside crisp faster while keeping the inside tender. 

From there you can take it anywhere you want it with seasoning, spices and dips. Like tossed with garlic, parmesan and pesto mayo. Yes, take it there. 


Garlic Parmesan Sweet Potato Fries with Pesto Mayo

Serves 4 

| Ingredients

  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch 
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. oil (see note above) 
  • 2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. garlic (more or less depending on your garlic love) 
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp. parsley, finely chopped (optional) 

Pesto Mayo: 

  • 1/4 cup mayo
  • 1 tbsp. homemade or store bought pesto

| Instructions

  • Peel potatoes and cut into matchsticks, no thicker than 1/4 inch. Submerge potatoes in a bowl of cold water and let sit for at least 1 hour
  • Preheat oven to 425. Line 2 baking sheets with aluminum foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray 
  •  Drain potatoes and dry with a paper towel. Place potatoes in a large ziploc bag and add cornstarch. Leave the bag full of air, seal and shake so that the potatoes get a thin, even coating of cornstarch. Depending on the size of your potatoes you may not need the full tbsp. I add the cornstarch in small amounts until the potatoes are just dusted. They should not be white, just a light coating that you need to look closely to see.
  • Add the oil to the bag and shake again, until fries are evenly coated. Again, add this in small amounts to account for difference in potato size. They should not be drenched, just a light coat of oil. Add the black pepper and shake again.
  • Pour fries onto prepared baking sheets and spread into an even later. Make sure that no fries are overlapping or touching each other. The more space they have, the better they crisp.
  • Bake for 15 minutes, remove pans from oven and flip fries with a spatula. Switch the pans so that the one that was on the bottom rack is now on the top. Bake for 15 more minutes. At this point, flip the fries again and bake in 5 minute increments until they are crispy as you would like. Some batches have only needed 5 more minutes and some have needed 15, depending on the potatoes I used. 
  • Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes. To make the pesto mayo, mix the two ingredients until combined. Add salt and pepper, to taste. 
  • Place fries in a large bowl and add the olive oil. Toss to coat. Add the garlic, salt and parmesan and toss until the fries are coated. Transfer to a serving plate and top with parsley, if desired and extra parmesan cheese. If any garlic or cheese is left in the bottom of the bowl, sprinkle that on as well.