April 11, 2011

baked sweet potato fries with furikake

Sweet potato fries. Close to perfect with just a sprinkling of sea salt, and even better with a scattering of furikake, a Japanese condiment made from sesame seeds and nori. I was reading the April issue of Food and Wine on my flight back from New Orleans last week when a photo of sweet potato fries with furikake caught my eye -- they serve them at the Bar at the Peninsula in Chicago. The F+W recipe called for using store-bought furikake, but I decided to make my own simply by adding some ground nori to the gomasio I made recently (prepared versions of furikake usually also contain dried fish, salt, sugar, and sometimes MSG).

For my fries I used a combination of white and orange sweet potatoes, sliced into thin batons with the skin left on -- I love the crispness the skin gives to baked fries. Tossed with a little olive oil and then into a high-heat oven, you can have these fries on the table in no time. The nutty, savory, salty, and mildly ocean-y notes of the sesame-sea salt-nori combination beautifully complement the earthiness of the sweet potatoes. Next time I might try adding some cayenne or crushed red pepper for heat.

baked sweet potato fries with furikake

1-1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, scrubbed and cut into batons (1/4 inch x 1/4 inch by 2 to 3 inches in length)
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 nori sheet, roughly torn and ground in a spice grinder

Preheat oven to 425 F.

Toss the sweet potatoes with about 1 Tbsp of olive oil and arrange in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet (or two). Bake until fries are golden brown and crisp on the edges, about 25 minutes, stirring/turning the pans halfway through (and switching the positions of the pans if you are using two).

Combine the sesame seeds and salt and grind using a mortar and pestle. Stir in the ground nori.

Toss the baked fries with the remaining olive oil and season to taste with the sesame-salt-nori mixture. Eat them while they're hot.


  1. Yum!

    We always go the sea salt route but I will definitely be trying furikake on our next batch!

  2. Yummy! I love the furikake topping, roasted sweet potatoes are always delicious.

  3. looks really tasty! at a tavern here in Nashville, they serve regular hand-cut fries dusted with togarashi and sea salt, served with a lime on the side. it's very similiar--having sesame and nori, but also these elements: tangerine peel, poppyseeds, garlic, black and chili peppers. (must be the new tavern thing!)
    but both seasonings bring a nice twist to the fries.

  4. YUMMM!


  5. thanks for the kind comments, ladies!

    Nancy, the fries with togarashi sound incredible - tangerine zest and poppyseeds, wow!

  6. I adore sweet potato fries, and I really like your version using sesame seeds. Great addition.

  7. Recently I roasted some sweet potatoes with cardamom and they were really tasty, but I added some butter to the olive oil. This looks great with two kinds of sweet potatoes. Are the bright orange ones really yams? I keep getting confused!

  8. LB - sweet potato and cardamom sounds like a great combination, I'll have to try that next time! The yam vs sweet potato thing is such a conundrum...especially since sweet potatoes are sometimes labeled yams in the produce section. These were all sweet potatoes (I think!).