Welcome to Day 3 of Farmers Market Week on Smart Cookie! What makes this time of year so delicious is the cornucopia of good-quality fresh fruits and veggies available at farmers markets and roadside stands. So, all this week, I’ll bring you a new recipe loaded with fresh produce. It’s all leading up to a big fresh produce recipe round-up on Friday. Check out the rest of this week’s posts: Raspberry-Lemon-Coconut Trifle on Monday and Sauteed Basil-Parmesan Brussels Sprouts, Corn, & Cherry Tomatoes on Tuesday.
If you’re a true food lover like myself, you might find it difficult to select a singular favorite food. But if somebody held a gun to my head and forced me to choose one, I think I’d have to say cheese fries. French fries in their basic form are one of my top favorite foods; they’ve been a favorite since I was a child. But when you add the right cheese to the equation, it makes the crispy spuds one step more awesome. I can’t pass up cheese fries if they’re on a menu.
Lately, I’ve delved into the world of sweet potato fries. And as I was crunching a particularly delectable batch of them, I couldn’t help but think, “Dang, these things are good. WHY have I not enjoyed these covered in cheese yet?”
So today, we’re taking the most nutritionally beneficial food available at the farmers market and making a mean batch of Spicy Double Cheese Sweet Potato Fries. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to love cheese fries as much when revamped with sweet potatoes instead, but lord, I did. That little sweet upgrade takes the magic of cheese fries to a whole new level, and I can hardly handle it.
Let’s talk about the fries in their cheese-less state. They’re dusted with the perfect blend of warm spices, including some red pepper flakes for a real kick in the butt, and they’re oven-baked to make ‘em crunchy and irresistible. As soon as I tasted my first piping hot fry, I exclaimed, “Those spices are on point!”
Now, you could easily down the entire pan-ful of fries before ever burying them in cheese, because they’re that good on their own, but we love cheese too much to pass it up.
Note: When cheese is the question, the answer is always “yes.”
I chose spicy, melty pepper jack because it pairs beautifully with the flavor of the sweet potatoes. Then, I added sharp white cheddar for its classic tanginess. The key factor here is completely, mercilessly burying those fries in a generous mound of that gooey cheese. No skimping here.
Finish with fresh, vibrant scallions to add a pop of bright flavor to every zesty, spicy, cheesy, golden brown fry. These guys are unbelievably good; they even give classic cheese fries a run for their money. Although they look and taste like something out of your favorite fried food joint, you made them in your oven with next to no effort. Go ahead and indulge, and I don’t recommend sharing. They’re just too good to sacrifice even a single fry.
- You can fry the fries if you like. Break out your deep fryer!
- The fresh scallions might seem like useless garnish, but they actually add essential flavors that the fries just aren’t the same without.
- This will look like a lot of fries, but they shrink down when they bake.
- If you don’t like heat, leave out the red pepper flakes.
Sweet Potato Pepper Jack & White Cheddar Cheese Fries
By The Smart Cookie Cook
- 2 large sweet potatoes
- 2 tsp. olive oil
- ½ tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. red pepper flakes
- 2 tsp. chili powder
- 2 tsp. garlic powder
- 2 tsp. paprika
- 4 oz. pepper jack cheese, shredded
- 4 oz. sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded
- 3 scallions, chopped
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- Slice the potatoes lengthwise into fries of about 1/8-inch thickness. You can remove the skins if you want, but I left them on.
- Transfer the fries to a large bowl. Add the oil and all the spices and mix together with your hands until fries are evenly coated. Spread the fries out in an even layer on the baking sheet.
- Bake until golden brown and crisp to your liking, about 50 minutes. Stir the fries around every 20 minutes.
- Sprinkle cheese and scallions over fries and return to oven until cheese is melted, about 5 minutes. Serve immediately.