The other day, a friend and I indulged in a platter of well salted Vegan sweet potato fries at a local restaurant. While licking our fingers and swooning over each bite, we wondered why the fries were so deliciously crispy despite being baked rather than fried. We devoured the plate in slow motion, savoring each and every morsel and decided that we weren’t leaving the restaurant without their secret. We just had to recreate these at home.
It took a bit of playful flattery with our young waiter, as we sent him back to the kitchen to do a little digging around. Although we weren’t expecting him to come back with a clear cut answer, deep down we were hoping he’d give us one. When he finally did return to our table, he divulged a very simple secret: the fries are cooked in a microwave convection oven. I left empowered with knowledge, yet, without such a cooking apparatus in my own kitchen, a bit defeated. But alas, my week went on.
A few days later, with an overabundance of sweet potatoes from my CSA, I was reminded once again of those delectable sweet potato fries and I got the urge to make them. That’s when I remembered my friend Kathe’s microwave oven, the one with all the extra switches and dials, sitting high above her cabinets. I vaguely remembered her mentioning that it was a convection oven.
So, when she called to coordinate the logistics of our Monday afternoon cooking date, I suggested that we make sweet potato fries along with our already-slated cranberry bread. She was all over it! We peeled and julienned the potatoes to just the right size, sprinkled them generously with olive oil and kosher salt. Six minutes later, her microwave beeped and we had the first batch of crispy, salty fries, almost as good as those I had just enjoyed the week prior. She thought the idea was brilliant and was thrilled to put her underutilized appliance to good use. The fries were so delicious that we ate them all as each batch came out. Even our kids, who aren’t usually sweet potato fans, dug in. And, our intentions to freeze some for later never actually happened.
It’s nice to know that I have two places to go for my favorite Vegan sweet potatoes. One takes a bit more effort (and a mess to clean up) than the other, but it is well infused with good times and laughter.