I love french fries. When my parents took me to France as a teen (with an unfortunate curly-fro), I saw a french fry sandwich. A french fry sandwich? Yep. Fries stuffed into a baguette and smeared with mayo. It was a beautiful sandwich. Very healthy.
Anyway, I’m always looking for ways to make fries at home that are healthy and tasty. Not just regular tasty, but the addictive, can’t-stop-eating-them tasty of a real french fry. Last night I made a batch of sweet potato fries spiked with smoked paprika, lime zest and a ton of freshly ground pepper. Usually the sweet potato is far too sweet for me, but the citrus and spices cut the sweetness nicely. They were definitely addictive.
Sweet potatoes are also “good carbs” with a low glycemic index and a high nutritional content, so i don’t even feel that bad about eating my entire portion and half of Tom’s. Not one bit.
I served these alongside an espresso-rubbed pork tenderloin, which was bold and a bit spicy. A simple weekday meal.
Espresso Pork Tenderloin
1 tbsp. canola (or other flavorless) oil
1.5 lb. pork tenderloin
1 tsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. ground espresso
1 tsp. salt
2 dried chipotle peppers, halved (with seeds – it won’t be very hot at all)
1/2 cup stock (I used beef stock here)
Heat a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat and add the oil. While it heats, mash the espresso, salt and olive oil together in a bowl, then rub it all over the tenderloin. Sear the tenderloin for 5 minutes on each side, until it gets a nice, brown char.
Add the stock and chipotle peppers to the skillet, cover loosely with lid and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook for 10 minutes, turning occasionally. The tenderloin is done when it’s brown on the outside and pink, but not raw, on the inside. The internal temperature should read 145° on a meat thermometer for medium and 160° for well-done. Discard chipotle peppers.
Let stand for 5 minutes, then slice it into 3/4-inch thick rounds and serve with a bit of pan sauce drizzled over it.
Smoked Paprika Sweet Potato Fries
2 large sweet potatoes, cut into fry-like sticks
2 tbsp. smoked paprika
zest of 1 lime
1 tbsp. freshly ground pepper
1 tbsp. salt
1 tbsp. olive oil
juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp. freshly ground pepper (not a duplicate)
Preheat the oven to 450° and line a cookie sheet with foil. Toss the sweet potatoes with the smoked paprika, lime zest, pepper, salt and olive oil, then spread them evenly out onto the cookie sheet. Make sure they’re not overlapping.
Bake for 20 – 25 minutes on the center rack of the oven, or until the insides are tender and the outsides are browned. You’ll want to flip them halfway through cooking so all sides brown evenly and they don’t stick to the bottom.
Remove from oven and drizzle the lime juice and remaining black pepper over the pan. Enjoy with ketchup or on their own.