With one daughter away at college and a husband that travels frequently, many of my weeknight meals are simple and adaptable for the other picky eaters still at home. Tonight we had leftover salmon and I made homemade oven fries. I love the simplicity of them. They create a smell of rosemary wafting through the kitchen while they bake, like kitchen perfume. They are easy to prepare and healthy too. Surprisingly, I believe the key to their flavor is the freshly cracked black pepper. They just don’t taste the same without it. You could easily make these with sweet potatoes, reduce the baking time by about 5 minutes and watch them closely. As they have more sugar and are more apt to burn, you may need to reduce the baking temperature to 400 as they bake.
I served the fries and the salmon with a quick remoulade. I think I like it better with the fries than the salmon. Feel free to use any style mustard you like in this remoulade. I use a country mustard for this, the kind that comes with whole mustard seeds in it. When I was a child, my aunt and uncle gave me a mustard seed charm for my charm bracelet-for good luck. I don’t know what happened to the charm or the bracelet, but I am reminded of good wishes for good luck every time I use country style mustard.
This side dish is complimentary to any protein you might serve. You could also serve it with soup and salad for a light meal. Bake them for an afternoon snack in the winter, the heat from the oven and the scent of them baking warms the soul.
For the Potatoes:
2 to 3 medium potatoes, scrubbed under cold water with a vegetable brush
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Halve the potatoes and then rest each half on the cut end. Slice the potato half lengthwise from the top, making 4 or 5 slices out of each half. Then cut each slice lengthwise into 3-4 fries (depending on how thick you want them). Place the raw potato fries on a parchment lined cookie sheet, toss with the olive oil, salt, pepper and rosemary. Bake in the preheated oven for about 25 minutes. Take the pan out and turn the fries about halfway through baking time if you like them crispier. Serves 4-6.
For the Quick Remoulade:
2 tablespoons mustard
2 tablespoons light mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Greek yogurt
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar or pickle juice
1 teaspoon honey
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Pinch salt and pepper
Mix all together, tasting to adjust level of salt and pepper. Add more cayenne if you like it spicy.