"Better Than Fries Potatoes" is easy and tasty, but timing is off

Have you seen this picture before?

Better Than Fries Potatoes (courtesy Pinterest)

Better Than Fries Potatoes (courtesy Pinterest)

You can find recipes all over, and the premise is quite simple.  One that will be universally available is from this link on Pinterest.  After seeing this several times I decided to try it myself tonight, but with a twist.  I tried both a regular and sweet potato version.

The premise behind this isn’t hard at all.  You wash and dry your favorite potato.  You then carefully slice most of the way through the potato, creating these fine little fins.  I made mine about an eighth of an inch thick or less.  I started on the one end and carefully sliced.  Once I got half way around I flipped the potato around and continued.  This way I didn’t have to worry about cutting myself at some point.  Now that they were cut I transferred them to an aluminum foil lined lipped baking sheet.

Once the potatoes are cut I tried fanning out the pieces to create the fins.  Unfortunately they really want to stick together.  I therefore drizzled the olive oil on top and tried to rub it in and around, again, trying to carefully separate the fins.  It seemed like I was getting some absorption, but it wasn’t falling into the cracks and crevices as I had originally imagined.  With both the sweet potato and regular potato cut and sufficiently coated in oil I sprinkled some coarse ground sea salt on top.  For the final piece I cut thin slices of butter that I lined along the top.

I already had my oven preheated to the requested 425 degrees Fahrenheit so in they went and the timer was set to the 40 minutes.  I was actually cooking these along with some other food so it wasn’t until about 45-50 minutes later that they were pulled out.  My picture isn’t as Pinterest worthy, but at least you can get an idea of what the potato and sweet potato look like, respectively.

As you can see, once the cooking is done the fins really start standing out.  When I put them in the oven, despite my best intentions, it looked like there were only three or four slices across the middle.  As the cooking causes the structure to change it really starts getting accentuated.  This is good and bad.  It’s good because it prevents the inside from getting overly saturated.  It’s bad because I think i would have liked more of the butter to get inside.

So how did it taste? It tasted like a roasted baked potato, which to me is delicious.  It’s not much harder to do than that either.  The biggest problem I had was with the cooking time 40-45 minutes was enough for the sweet potato, which was smaller, but not for the baked potato.  This was not a huge potato either.  This potato maybe weighed 6 ounces, but probably less than that.  In our modern era this would be a “medium” baked potato.  I would say it needed another good 10-15 minutes to cook.  So, the first thing I would say is that if you are doing this with sizable potatoes, add lots of cooking time.

The second thing I would change is when to add the butter.  Rather than adding the butter at the very beginning I would instead let it get most of the way through the cooking.  I would then lay the butter on the spine as I did this time but only for the last 10-15 minutes of cooking.  That way the fins will have opened up and the butter would really get down into the flesh of the potato.

Even with the way I cooked it this time, minus the slightly under done regular potato, I’d say this recipe is a win.  The sweet potato worked just as well as the potato, so I think this is also versatile for any type of potato, sweet potato or yam.