I have a beautiful adoptive sister named Gwen who, years ago, began putting cheese on wedges of roasted, seasoned sweet potato to get her boys to eat sweet potatoes. At first, I thought this idea was cuckoo crazy. Cheese with sweet potatoes? It sounded like an odd combo. But, it was actually really good. Like, I-can’t-stop-eating-these-darn-things good. This clever mom trick may have been a stroke of genius, as let’s face it, many clever mom tricks are.
So, when I felt like making some spicy sweet potato fries the other day, I remembered my sister’s trick and decided to melt some cheese onto the fries right at the end of the roasting process. You get a little natural sweetness from the potato, some heat from the spices, melty cheese, and finger-licking salt. By the way, if you don’t like the cheese idea, these spicy seasoned fries are extremely tasty on their own, too. Totally up to you.
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into uniform sticks
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/3 cup grated mild cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
In a bowl, toss together the sweet potatoes with the olive oil until coated.
In a smaller bowl, stir together the salt, black pepper, cayenne, paprika, cumin, garlic powder, and cornstarch. Sprinkle the mixture over the sweet potatoes and toss to coat. Place the fries in rows onto the foil-lined baking sheet. Roast for 15 minutes. Turn the fries and roast another 5-10 minutes or until browned and cooked through (I like mine a little crispy on the edges). Sprinkle with cheese in the last 2 minutes of cooking and cook until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Taste for seasoning and season with more salt, to taste, if needed. Serve promptly.
*While baked sweet potato fries are healthier and quite simple to make, they do not produce the crispy french fry results you achieve with frying. Baked sweet potato fries are tender, with chewy/crisp edges.