Baked Cajun spiced French fries

Baked Cajun spiced French fries

My love for French fries started in South America. At a little place called the Extreme Fun Pub in Uyuni, Bolivia (which, if you’re ever there, you’ve got to visit) (along with Minuteman Revolutionary Pizza). We’d just wrapped up a three day tour of the Salar de Uyuni (we met the best people on that little excursion), where I was sick with food poisoning from the moment we got off the night bus from La Paz (AVOID THE VEGETARIAN BUS FOOD AT ALL COSTS) to the moment our tour wrapped up back in Uyuni, three days later. It is no exaggeration when I say those three days were the worst I’ve ever felt. And the fact that I was confined to a jeep with six other people – driving around middle-of-nowhere Bolivia for ten hours a day – didn’t help, either. Looking back, it’s kind of hilarious that I was at my lowest during a time when pay-per-use toilets were the norm, there was super limited access to running water, and we were sleeping on concrete slabs with makeshift mattresses and a dozen layers of blankets (and almost as many layers of clothing). I mean, if that’s not the Universe getting me even for something I did in a past life, I don’t know WHAT it is.

But back to the fries. It was when we were an hour or so away from Uyuni that my appetite resurfaced, and all I could think about were French fries (which is probably because one of the girls in our jeep ate an entire family-size bag of Lays over the course of those three days, so I had greasy potatoes on the brain). We made a bee line for the aforementioned pub and I ordered not one but two plates of deep fried potato batons, and I scarfed them. From that point forward, French fries became my new comfort food. Despite the fact that – for eight years prior – my comfort food came in the form of a perfectly molded and bitter dark bar that was wrapped in a combination of foil and paper.

The transition from sweet and luscious to salty and grease-loaded is enough to still make me scratch my head and wonder HOW the lady who never used to eat French fries suddenly craves them all the time. Which, if you read my last post, you know about. If you didn’t read my last post, allow me to save you the time (and curse word-assault on your eyeballs): I had an aversion to healthy eating toward the end of 2015. And, if I can be honest, I’m still trying hard to resit the urge to eat salty potato things for dinner each night. But here’s the deal: I firmly believe that when your body craves something for days on end, you need it. Maybe not an entire plate of it, but it’s best to satisfy the craving before you roll over to your sleepy husband, at 3AM, and profess that you’ve been awake for the past 30 minutes and have been contemplating getting dressed and walking three blocks to the 24 hour diner for a plate of greasy ass fries.

So, the next day, while we were wandering around one of those massive commercial kitchen supply stores, a French fry cutter caught my eye and I had to have it. In fact, my mouth started salivating when I saw it because I CAN FINALLY HAVE MY FRENCH FRIES AND EAT THEM, TOO! Kind of. Because this recipe makes fries that are probably just as greasy as the ones you’d order off a restaurant menu. They’re just made with better grease. And served with better ketchup. And, just like last week’s recipe, they’re totally acceptable to eat for breakfast. Which kind of makes them a health food, right?

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Notes: Although you can achieve great French fry texture by soaking the raw, cut fries in hot water for 30 minutes, I’ve found the best way to achieve a perfect French fry (without all the extra effort) is to use potatoes that have just begun to sprout. They’ll be fairly soft, which is the same thing you’re trying to achieve by soaking the potatoes. You can certainly use potatoes that are sproutless, but the texture of the finished product may be a little off.. unless you give ’em a good soak before tossing with the oil and spice blend. If you’re not into cajun spiced things, feel free to use curry, ras el hanout, or enjoy them sans spice.

BAKED CANJUN SPICED FRENCH FRIES

6-8 small (2 pounds) yukon gold potatoes (see notes above)
1/4 cup (52g) sunflower oil
2-3 teaspoons cajun spice blend
Pinch of fine sea salt
(if your blend doesn’t contain salt)

Preheat oven to 425˚F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly grease with oil; set aside. Clean your potatoes and pick out any sprouts that may be starting to form; pat dry. Using a knife or French fry cutter, cut the potatoes into long sticks that are about 1/4″ thick. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and toss with oil, then cajun seasoning. Line the batons on the prepared sheet (making sure none of them are touching on the long sides) then bake at 425˚F for 25-30 minutes, until golden. Halfway through, give the fries a toss. Once baked, transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel (to absorb the excess oil) then serve immediately (preferably with spiced ketchup) (and mustard).

Yield: 4 servings

REAL LIFE, YO

28 Comments

  • Reply Sarah F 13 January 2016 at 8:13 AM

    YES! These look so good! Fries are totally my comfort food… well, chocolate is sometimes, too. But salty, greasy potatoes just hit the spot like nothing else. And I’m happy that these are baked, because while I love actually fried fries, I’m pretty chicken when it comes to doing the deep-frying myself. Thank you for sharing. (And, oh man, you poor thing! That sounds like a nightmare scenario. You definitely earned those two plates of fries!)

  • Reply Kimiko 13 January 2016 at 8:20 AM

    These look oh so good. And if they are baked… They have to better than deep fried … At least that is what I tell myself…

  • Reply Ellie | Hungry by Nature 13 January 2016 at 8:20 AM

    Thank you for solving this mystery! When I crave fries, it’s an ‘I need them NOW’ situation. Not a ‘let’s soak potatoes in warm water for 30 minutes and them bake them for another 30’ situation. No way – that takes way too much time. Can’t wait to try these out!!

  • Reply Nikki 13 January 2016 at 8:42 AM

    Deliciousness. I also thoroughly enjoyed your blog post and your honesty. I’ve learned that I’m better off going and eating a few chocolate chips rather than thinking some fruit will do. Then I just end up being the fruit/cereal/whatever and still going in search for the chocolate later on.

  • Reply Alissa 13 January 2016 at 9:16 AM

    God now I just want to eat all the french fries!! BRB

  • Reply Erica 13 January 2016 at 9:43 AM

    Most seductive looking photos of fries I’ve seen on the Internet. I’m convincing my boyfriend we need this this weekend.

  • Reply Samantha 13 January 2016 at 10:46 AM

    All I could think about after seeing this recipe was making with sweet potato. I love fries, but I love sweet potato fries even more! and Cajun spiced fries are my fav..thanks for sharing :)

  • Reply Mariana 13 January 2016 at 10:56 AM

    I like the sprouting potato tip, never knew that. Also love the behind the scenes photo!

  • Reply Sara @ Cake Over Steak 13 January 2016 at 10:57 AM

    French fries are ABSOLUTELY one of my comfort foods as well. They’re one of the foods I could never ever give up.

  • Reply Heather 13 January 2016 at 10:58 AM

    Yes yes and yes. French fries are my weakness.

  • Reply Chrissy 13 January 2016 at 11:36 AM

    I also have a story of feeling my worse on a 14-day trek in the Nepalese mountains, where all there was to eat (if I could get it down) was dal and rice and more dal. Torture. FFs are my favorite, and it’s by them that I judge the quality of any restaurant. I don’t care how fancy you are, if your fries suck, I’m not going! I may make these this weekend. Thanks!

  • Reply Anna 13 January 2016 at 12:18 PM

    If you haven’t yet done so you absolutely need to try this with sweet potato fries as well. You agree going to love it. The best results are when you bake them and then lightly fry the fries. Yum!

  • Reply danielle / rooting the sun 13 January 2016 at 12:24 PM

    ashlae, these are gorgeous and breakfast worthy and craving encompassing all over the place! french fries are pure comfort food, one of my favorites. ♥

  • Reply Mary Ann 13 January 2016 at 12:41 PM

    Hi Ashlae, can w get a recipe for your ketchup?

  • Reply Mary-Clay | The Open Oven 13 January 2016 at 1:04 PM

    I’ll eat a ketchup-coated french fry any day of the week, and the cajun spice blend takes that to a whole new level. I want it all. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply genevieve @ gratitude & greens 13 January 2016 at 1:58 PM

    These sound so good and I have the biggest fry craving now. I don’t have a french fry cutter, though, so unfortunately I will have to manually slice those potatoes if I want my fries tonight (god forbid, ha!). My boyfriend and I went through a period of making our own potato chips at home and it was so dangerous because I couldn’t stop eating them! Might be time to switch over to fry making :D

  • Reply kathryn @ The Scratch Artist 13 January 2016 at 5:56 PM

    YUM! I think I first discovered my love for french fries THE DAY I WAS BORN! There is no food nor will there ever be a food that weakens my knees more than greasy french fries and ketchup. I’m excited to try this “healthier” version. I love your styling in these photos <3

  • Reply Brooke @ Chocolate and Marrow 13 January 2016 at 6:07 PM

    Yes! Maybe I’m biased b/c of the whole Louisiana upbringing thing but I think Cajun fries are the absolute best. And these look like perfection. Your styling is gorgeous, lady!!

  • Reply Tori 14 January 2016 at 3:15 AM

    Did you say french fries for breakfast, um heck yes! Count me into this party!

  • Reply Randle 14 January 2016 at 8:24 AM

    Ermahgerd yum.

  • Reply Ashlyn ~ Dollop of Yum 17 January 2016 at 6:00 PM

    I love cajun fries so much! I always eat them at Five Guys when we go on occasion, but now I can make them at home whenever I want! This recipe looks delicious!

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  • Reply Elizabeth Luke Tharakan 22 January 2016 at 9:11 AM

    Almost everyone who read this is in a ‘OMG I need this now ‘state including me.😋

  • Reply Amy | Lemon and Coconut 24 January 2016 at 3:23 PM

    They look SO good, I’d never get bored of fries (even though mine have to be made from parsnip these days, they’re still so good… :)

  • Reply Gemm 24 January 2016 at 4:04 PM

    Gosh this recipe makes me feel so hungry right now! :-) Too bad it’s past midnight in Spain…ugh I hate going to bed with my stomach growling!

    xoxo

  • Reply Grey 25 January 2016 at 2:59 AM

    Those fries looks so mouthwatering! Makes me wanna grab some now!

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