On a recent trip to Winston-Salem, Adam and I had a nice, leisurely lunch at the perennially-packed Village Tavern. We have never had a bad meal at that busy restaurant housed among the charming shops in quaint Reynolda Village and that particular day was no exception. We ordered a few appetizers for a light bite, one of which was the sweet potato fries since I was intrigued by the unusual pairing of the side of honey-mustard dipping sauce served with them. The platter arrived piled high and we dug in. The combination of the crispy, nicely-spiced fries with the sweet and tangy sauce was refreshingly different and really grew on us bite after bite.
Back at home, I decided to prepare similar fries to the ones we enjoyed at the tavern, but I baked the sweet potatoes instead. I love how soft and sweet oven-roasting makes the wedges and the mixture of their sweetness with a little kick of Cajun seasoning that lingers ever so slightly in the back of your throat is divine. Although they are truly excellent dunked in honey-mustard, I think they rock even more with a side of ranch.
If you’re ever in Winston, you don’t want to miss checking out one of the coolest and hippest home furnishing shops ever: Nekkid Dave Life and Home. “An unapologetic lifestyle with a Southern edge.” Stop by and see their unique home furnishings, accessories, lighting and art. And maybe you can squeeze out the truth on just exactly how Dave got his name. But then again, maybe not.
The Stock Pot: Sensational Sides – Cajun Sweet Potato Fries
- 3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning, plus extra for sprinkling
- 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Slice each sweet potato in half lengthwise and cut each half into wedges. Place the wedges in a large bowl; add in the olive oil, Cajun seasoning and brown sugar. Season with some salt and pepper. Toss well to evenly coat all the wedges and place in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet.
- Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes, until the bottoms are beginning to caramelize; flip the wedges over with a spatula and bake until all sides are lightly browned, about another 5 minutes or so. Sprinkle a little more Cajun seasoning over the fries; taste for salt and pepper and serve hot.
…from the Picture-Perfect kitchen:
Planning: Although sweet potatoes are available year-round, autumn and winter are really their prime season. Look for potatoes that are smooth and unblemished.
Product Purity: McCormick has come out with a line of specialty spices called Perfect Pinch, like Cajun, that do not contain MSG. It’s a feisty blend of spices, like red and black pepper, thyme, celery seed, paprika, garlic and onion.
Presentation: I like to shower a flurry of fresh minced parsley over the fries for a little color and serve them in a fry cone, available at World Market.