Sweet potato fries with walnuts, blue cheese & balsamic glaze

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Sweet potatoes are one of my new found loves. Which is a bold statement coming from me, the former head of the anti sweet potato fan club. Seriously. I wouldn't have been caught dead consuming the squishy orange starch cooked in any way, shape or form. Trying to sneakily avoid that marshmallowy mess on Thanksgiving was a favorite past time of mine.  

It wasn't until it came time to start solid foods with my daughter that I re-visited this nutritional powerhouse. It's such a versatile food packed full of vitamins! Which makes it an extremely popular first food for baby. So I sucked up my pride, bought some orange 'taters and prepared to be disgusted. But to my surprise, my maturing taste buds welcomed the sweet flesh. As did my daughter's :) I'm a sweet potato convert! I love the versatility. Baked, steamed, fried. Sweetened or spiced. Crispy or smooth. They pair so well with so many flavor profiles and condiments! The health benefits are merely a bonus. 

Fries:

1 large sweet potato, rinsed and diced
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt
Cracked black pepper

Balsamic glaze:

2 cups balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar

Toppings:

1/4 cup blue cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Rinse and either peel your sweet potato or leave the skin on. This is personal preference - I peel mine. Cut the skinny ends off of the potato and chop in half. Dice each half into fairly equally sized slices (approximately 1/2 inch thick) and then into matchsticks. You'll want similar sized pieces as it will ensure even cooking.

Toss the fries in olive oil just to coat and place in a single layer on a baking sheet. Make sure to leave space between the wedges as this will allow them to crisp up on all sides. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Place in preheated oven for 40-50 minutes, flipping once at the half way point.

For balsamic glaze: Combine balsamic vinegar and brown sugar in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer until glaze is reduced by half and coats the back of your spoon (about 20 minutes). Store unused glaze in the refrigerator to use on salads or as a marinade!  

For toasted walnuts: Toast walnuts on the stovetop in a dry sauce pan over medium heat for about 2-3 minutes; until the nuts are fragrant and begin to brown.

Remove sweet potatoes from the oven after the edges begin to char and the interiors are nice and velvety. Top with desired amount of walnuts, blue cheese, and balsamic glaze and enjoy!

Posted on August 29, 2013 .