"Extra extra extra extra extra crispy, please," Wendy said.
It was something I heard from her mouth many times when I was working as a gymnastics coach. Friday night coaches dinners were the tradition, and after a few weeks, I could’ve ordered for Wendy because I knew it was always french fries with 5 extra crispies.
That was perhaps the year I learned to really look forward to a plate of hot french fries after a long week. I learned that if you could convince the waiter to make them so crispy a few are even burnt, the whole batch turns out over all very good (and quite crispy).
It feels special to get a plateful of fries that crispy, because it’s virtually impossible to accomplish at home, where you would need a deep frier to really match what restaurants do. And while I have a somewhat over-stocked kitchen, a deep frier is not one of the items taking up space in our burdened cabinets.
Instead I aim for the stars by cutting potatoes really thin (a spiralizer (affiliate link!) helps, especially if you want to make shoestring fries!) and cooking them until several are quite burnt. It’s a sacrifice that must me made.
Sweet potato fries have always been a few notches higher on my preference scale, but you could apply this same tactic to whatever potatoes suit your fancy.
I’m also not one for ketchup—never have been- and always opt for barbeque sauce or aioli instead. These fries are seasoned with smokey paprika, cumin, and garlic, so they go particularly well with barbeque sauce. But of course, if you love ketchup you should make sure to serve this mega bowl of shoestring fries with a side of it.
Sometimes memories of Friday night dinners with the coaches flicker through my mind, though its been over five years. That stash of memories sits deep inside of me, along with a craving for extra (extra extra extra extra) crispy fries.
If you're not that into making shoestring fries at home, you might try making these Cheesy Sweet Potato Stacks, which are basically mini sweet potato au gratins made with herbs and Creamy Toscano cheese, but around here we just call them "Little Stacks of Joy."
And happy February!! I'll be sending out the February newsletter in just a few days, so if you don't already receive my monthly newsletter, you can sign up here.
Serves: 5 | Total Time: 50 minutes
- 2 medium-sized sweet potatoes, peeled
- 1/4 cup olive oil or avocado oil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon ground paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 425°F and prepare two baking sheets with parchment paper or a Silpat. (affiliate link!).
- Using a Spiralizer (affiliate link!), cut sweet potatoes into long thin spaghetti-like strips.
- In a large bowl, toss spiralized sweet potatoes with oil, salt, garlic powder, paprika, chile powder, cumin, and pepper until coated. Then, spread potatoes out on prepared baking sheets in a single layer. Break apart any clumps, and spread them out as much as possible: for crispy fries, you want to avoid having the fries touch each other.
- Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes, then use a metal spatula to flip the fries and bake for 20 more minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Serve, adding extra salt to taste.