Almost all of us have wandered past a fast food restaurant or hot dog stand and felt an overwhelming desire for an order of fries. That smell of potatoes and oil can get to anyone once in a while. No fried foods, we may tell ourselves, followed by self-messages on the evils of high-cal, high-salt options.
At the same time, we may want to run to the counter and start munching before reason takes over. The idea that almost anything is fine in moderation could be a rationalization when it comes to potatoes deep fried in oil. But, what to do?
"I recommend a two-handed technique: one hand on the bottle of oil and the other holding a measuring spoon," said American Dietetic Association spokeswoman Dawn Jackson Blatner. "It's important to measure oil because just 1 tablespoon has 120 calories. I also like oil mister containers that allow you to spray oil in a fine mist to control calories."
Use the recipe to make baked wedge fries like the home-style ones some eateries serve up. Or create strips that have the crunch, taste and look that resemble those long, skinny ones most of us crave.
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 35 minutes
Note: You can use any type of potato. Don't peel the potatoes or many nutrients will be lost. Also by leaving the skin on, you'll get more crunch.
2 pounds russet potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon each: garlic powder, onion flakes, sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pinch red pepper flakes
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cut each potato into eight long wedges; place in a large saucepan with salted water to cover. Heat over high heat to a simmer. Reduce heat to low; cook 5 minutes. Drain; place the wedges on a baking sheet.
2. Mix the oil and spices in a small bowl. Brush the oil mixture over the potatoes to evenly coat. Bake 10 minutes, turn wedges. Bake 10 minutes. Turn broiler on; broil until potatoes are crisp on top, about 5 minutes. Turn; broil until crisp, about 5 minutes
Per serving: 189 calories, 22% of calories from fat, 5 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 33 g carbohydrates, 4 g protein, 215 mg sodium, 4 g fiber.
Kay Stepkin is a vegetarian cooking instructor and former owner of a vegetarian restaurant/bakery. E-mail her at email@example.com.