Everyone on earth loves French fries.
…Actually, my sister’s husband doesn’t, but let’s not go there. We have had many a heated debate around the family dinner table about this issue, where most of us acted as if he insulted our ancestors. I am willing to bet good money that he is THE ONLY PERSON EVER IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD to dislike them.
As for the rest of us earthlings, fries are one of those guilty pleasures that we cannot say no to, right? Especially homemade! YUM!
While the traditional deep-fried fries will always hold a special place in all our hearts, I am here to tell you that there is a wonderful, much healthier and dare I say equally satisfying way to enjoy potatoes on a more regular basis. We all have to admit that eating a lot of deep fried food is simply not a good idea. Enjoyed occasionally, it is fine…but indulging in fried food should definitely be kept to a minimum for the sake of our health (and our waistlines).
I have to confess that I actually find this method of cooking potatoes much more appealing, for several reasons. First and most importantly, the results are DELICIOUS. Crispy, deep golden brown and gnarly on the outside, fluffy and soft on the inside…salty, SO flavourful and UTTERLY addictive.
Another major win is that there is no frying required. I DESPISE standing over a large, violent, spattering, messy vat of oil that requires constant attention and makes my whole house (including myself) smell greasy. HATE IT. These wedges are baked entirely in the oven, which means you can just forget about them for the most part, except for tossing them once halfway. No oily cleanup needed, no hazardous hot oil (and you guys, I am pathetically accident-prone. I burn myself almost every other day), and no fuss.
And of course, the most obvious of reasons is simply how much better they are for you. They are heaps, miles, bags and loads healthier and more nutritious (incredibly scientific, I know). Believe it or not, the poor demonized potato is actually quite packed with benefits. The demons are the folks who decided to deep-fry them.
…Genius, brilliant demons.
One more great thing about roasting potatoes this way is that you can customize them endlessly with spices and flavourings. Here, I chose my favourite classic of rosemary and garlic. Other times, I season them with paprika, oregano, turmeric, cumin, thyme…the possibilities are infinite and it is lovely to be able to change it up according to my mood.
A great tip I learned from watching too much Jamie Oliver (is there such a thing as too much Jamie Oliver? I THINK NOT) is this secret weapon:
This is a small travel-size spray/spritz bottle that I bought from a one dollar shop and filled with vinegar. I opted for white grape (also known as white wine) vinegar, but any vinegar will do. The brilliant Jamie uses it to spray the roasting potatoes halfway through their cooking time, which imparts a gorgeous tanginess to the outer crust that is just SCRUMPTIOUS! Who doesn’t like salt and vinegar potatoes…I mean, come on!
Of course this tip/step is optional, but highly recommended!
Now, all that is left to do is enjoy your wonderfully healthy, addictive, equally satisfying yet virtuous potatoes, without an ounce of guilt or any nasty oil burns…unless of course you are as clumsy as I am and burn yourself every time you use the oven. Man, I need help.
P.S: They go PERFECTLY with my Secret Ingredient Burgers!
- • 1kg small potatoes
- • Leaves of 2-3 fresh rosemary sprigs
- • 3-4 tbsp. olive oil
- • 6 cloves garlic, whole unpeeled
- • Flaky sea salt
- • Vinegar in a spray bottle (I used white grape/wine vinegar)
- Preheat oven to 220 degrees C.
- Wash the potatoes, scrubbing the skin because you will leave them unpeeled. Dry the potatoes WELL and cut into wedges similar in size, about 2cm thick.
- Place wedges onto a baking sheet lined with non-stick baking (parchment) paper. Drizzle with the oil, add the rosemary leaves and garlic cloves and sprinkle generously with salt. Toss everything to combine. Spread the wedges into one even layer, making sure they aren’t too overcrowded (you might need to use 2 baking sheets if the potatoes are too much to fit in one layer without being cramped up together). You want them to have enough space to brown well and not stick together.
- Place tray(s) in the oven and roast for a total of 35-40 minutes. At about the 20-25 minute mark when you see the edges starting to brown, remove the tray(s) from the oven and flip the wedges over. Spray generously with the vinegar spray (this bit is optional, but delicious) and return to the oven to continue roasting on the other side till golden brown. Serve hot.
Get the recipe for my Secret Ingredient Burgers here.