Cajun Bakes with Aioli

2015-09-30 18.05.08*Aioli not pictured

RECIPE #77, DAY #94

ORIGINAL RECIPE: None for the fries/bakes, but Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison for the “Aioli”*

TIMING: About 1 hour

DIFFICULTY: A little finesse is necessary, but the recipe is very simple

TOOLS: A baking sheet, mortar and pestle, and a food processor

COOK TYPE: Oven and food processor

HEALTH: This is one of those redemptive recipes: I have taken something that is fried–even twice fried–and baked it, using way less oil and producing something way less fattening. I hate saying that something is not what it seems, but these are still basically fries even though they are not fried. With the Cajun spicing and especially with the (yes, quite fattening) aioli (which I would recommend making with these only on special occasions), these are even better than most fried fries .

2015-09-30 18.02.06EXPERIENCE: I have been popping “bakes” in the oven for many years, wanting something easier and healthier than the traditional fries (and cheaper than the frozen variety). This batch turned out just about perfect. They never are as crispy as their fried counterparts, but you can still get them fairly crispy if you cook them just right.

As for the aioli, I don’t make it very often but it does pair nicely here. It’s very straightforward, but it is, in my busy book, food for special occasions.

NOTES: You may have to tweak the temperature and timing based on your cut, your oven, your potatoes, your altitude, whatever. You want the inside to be fluffy and soft and the outside to have some resistance, a little crispiness, and some brown.

I also ask you to cut your potatoes into fry shapes, which is a little vague on purpose: people have their own idea what a “fry shape” is, so cut to your ideal, just make sure you make your sizes consistent.

You could substitute roasted garlic for the fresh garlic, but you will want to use at least twice as much.

***

  1. Preheat the oven to 425F.
  2. Peel and cut 4 medium-large russet or Yukon gold potatoes into fry shapes. As you cut, place the fries into a mixing bowl of cold water with a squeeze of lemon.
  3. When the oven is heated, drain your potatoes, place on a dry towel and dry them fairly well by rolling them over. Dump them onto a sheet pan and drizzle liberally with safflower or peanut oil. Toss and make sure that the oil coats all the fries. Now sprinkle generously with Cajun seasoning mix and toss again.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and, with a thin, metal spatula, firmly scrape the fries from the bottom of the pan, tossing. Bake another 15 minutes and toss again. Keep returning to oven and checking for done-ness.Taste for salt and serve hot.
  5. Meanwhile, chop 4-6 cloves garlic and place in a mortar with a pinch of coarse salt. Pound with the mortar until it forms a paste. Set aside.
  6. In a food processor, process together 1 room temperature egg, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, and a hefty pinch of salt. Leave the processor on and very slowly drizzle in 1 1/4 cups olive (or safflower or avocado) oil. It should magically become mayonnaise.
  7. Add the garlic and a squeeze of lemon juice and taste for lemon and salt.
  8. Serve the hot fries with a side of aioli and store the extra aioli in the fridge for later use.

***

Serve with a homemade burger and a restaurant-style side salad.

*Recipe changed from the original.

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