Everyday Food (January/February 2010)
Just over a year ago, we wrote about one of our favorite standby side dishes, Fajita Sweet Potatoes. We call them our ultimate cheat-dish: With only three ingredients (including olive oil) they could not be simpler to prepare. Guests go gaga for 'em, and so do we.
So we were really interested to see these Old-Bay Roasted Sweet Potatoes in the newest issue of Everyday Food. The concept is exactly the same as our Fajita Sweet Potatoes: dice the potatoes, toss them in oil and seasoning, bake for a half hour.
And we were particularly excited at the idea of the Old Bay spin. We're not sure how familiar everyone is with Old Bay Seasoning -- it's originally from the Chesapeake Bay area, so it's ubiquitous where we live in Washington, D.C. (It's even available as a popcorn topping at movie theaters here.) But it's also very popular in the South and the Gulf Coast, so we were each familiar with it growing up in Tennessee and Kentucky.
Fun fact about Old Bay: Crabs used to be so plentiful in Maryland that bars would give them away as free snacks. Seasonings like Old Bay -- a blend of spices like mustard, paprika, bay leaf, cinnamon and pepper, developed in the 1940s -- were added to crab meat to make bar patrons thirstier.
Anyway, we wanted to find out: Could these Old Bay potatoes match our Fajita Faves?
Eh, not really.
We used far more Old Bay than teaspoon-and-a-half the recipe calls for, but our finished potatoes came out under-seasoned. They still tasted good, but then again how can roasted sweet potatoes not taste good? But we just didn't feel like the Old Bay added nearly the spice that fajita seasoning does.
We still love the idea of this recipe. If we make these again, we'll try amping up the Old Bay even more, maybe as much as three tablespoons of seasoning.
And if that doesn't work, there's always Fajita Sweet Potatoes.
Preheat over to 450 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss 3 mediums sweet potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds total), scrubbed and cut into 1-inch pieces, with 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil and 1 1/2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning. Bake until potatoes are deep golden brown on all sides, about 30 minutes, flipping halfway through.