These are lovely either as a side or snack, with sour cream for dipping. Their coating mix includes dried polenta or cornmeal, which adds a nice crunch.

Make Ahead: The sweet potatoes can be prepared up to 6 hours in advance before they are roasted.

Where to Buy: Ground sumac is a deep red spice made from the dried and crushed berries of the sumac shrub. In this dish, it provides a wonderful citrusy counterpoint to the sweet potatoes. It is available at Middle Eastern markets and spice shops, and also at some Whole Foods Markets.

The London chef-restaurateur and cookbook author says these pantry components can enhance even the simplest recipes. (Taylor Turner/The Washington Post)


  • 3 large sweet potatoes (2 1/2 pounds total), peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch-thick matchsticks
  • 1 tablespoon sweet smoked paprika (pimenton)
  • 12 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
  • 3 tablespoons dried polenta or coarsely ground cornmeal
  • 14 cup plus 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons flaky sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground sumac (see headnote)

Step 1

Position oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven; preheat to 450 degrees. Line two rimmed baking sheets with aluminum foil or parchment paper.

Step 2

Combine the sweet potatoes, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic, polenta or cornmeal, oil and 1 teaspoon of the salt, tossing to coat evenly. Divide between the baking sheets, spreading the sweet potatoes so they will crisp up. Roast (upper and lower racks) for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring once or twice and rotating the pans from top to bottom and front to back halfway through, until the potatoes are cooked, crisp and golden.

Step 3

Sprinkle with the sumac and the remaining teaspoon of salt, then serve right away.

Adapted from “Ottolenghi Simple,” by Yotam Ottolenghi with Tara Wigley and Esme Howarth (Ten Speed Press, 2018).

Tested by Becky Krystal and Bonnie S. Benwick; email questions to

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Calories: 240; Total Fat: 13 g; Saturated Fat: 2 g; Cholesterol: 0 mg; Sodium: 660 mg; Carbohydrates: 31 g; Dietary Fiber: 5 g; Sugars: 6 g; Protein: 3 g.