I get asked a lot by fellow moms how I get to my mega-picky DS to eat healthy food. To be honest, a lot of it has come with conditioning; he always received Ak-Mak crackers instead of saltines, Cheerios instead of Froot Loops, puffed rice instead of Rice Krispies. There is one thing he loves, though, that is almost invariably unhealthy: french fries. It’s his favorite food. Period. And I’ve tried sweet potato fries, and butternut squash fries, and zucchini fries, all to no avail. Most homemade french fries taste like the ones your mom tried to pass off to you as being “just as good” as the ones from your local fast food joint, but seriously? They were white, watery, and not crunchy at all. So if you want your child to eat a healthier (and cheaper) version of the ubiquitous McSpud, try this recipe on for size.
Some notes before we start, by the way: smaller potatoes work better than large ones for this recipe. I’m also a big proponent of using organic potatoes, because conventional ones are sprayed with a sprouting inhibitor that can’t really be washed off (although peeling the potato does reduce exposure levels dramatically). The potatoes I used to make the batch you see in the photo were purchased from a vendor at the Old Towne Orange farmer’s market (Saturday mornings, 8am-noon, on the corner of N. Cypress and W. Palm).
2 small yellow potatoes (like Yukon Golds) per serving
Canola oil baking spray
1. Preheat your oven to 500 degrees. Put a large cookie sheet in on the middle rack.
2. Scrub clean your potatoes and cut off any eyes or brown spots. Leave the rest of the skin on and slice into 1/8-1/4″ rounds. Then cut each slice into 1/8-1/4″ ribbons. You should end up with a lot of matchstick looking pieces.
3. Put the potatoes in a bowl and salt very liberally. Toss them by hand for a couple minutes, squeezing them gently on occasion, in order to get the potatoes to release some of their water. Once you get completely bored with this part, pat the potatoes with several paper towels until they are as close to bone-dry as you can get them.
4. Wipe out the bowl and return the potatoes to it. Spray the potatoes liberally with canola oil spray and toss them by hand to coat thoroughly.
5. Pull the cookie sheet out of the oven. Place the potatoes in a single layer on the sheet with none of the potatoes touching. Return the cookie sheet to the oven, reduce the heat to 450 degrees, and bake for 15 minutes. Once baked, pull them out promptly and transfer to a serving plate.