Friday, November 30, 2007

Tale of a Sweet Potato

Here in Israel, sweet potatoes are everywhere. They're tasty, inexpensive, not to mention good for you and are featured on almost every menu - the ubiquitous 'orange soup' or roasted and dipped in some way.

Here, chez nous, we roast them and soup them as well. We've gone in many directions in terms of roasting over the years, from the simple, 'chop, drizzle with olive oil and salt,' and roast. We've tried maple syrup and piquant spicing, as well as herby combinations to complement that vegetal/sweet nature of the sweet potato. The current favorite is simple but effective.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes:
Sweet potatoes - scrubbed and chopped (size doesn't matter here but the larger the hunk, the longer the cooking. On the other hand, smaller chunks fall apart too easily). Peeling is up to you. If you buy organic than you get the tastier sweet potato, the goodness of the peel and less work.

Spread them in a baking pan that is lined with parchment paper (makes cleanup alot easier).

Drizzle a decent amount of olive oil on top. If you have a full pan of potatoes (3-4 good sized), than you'll use 1/4 cup of olive oil. You can use less accordingy to your taste.

. For one pan of potatoes, as much as 1/4-1/3 of a cup, but we really like cinnamon.

Coarse salt
. Maldon salt is my favorite. It has a lovely flake and a really good taste. You can eyeball this and feel free to sprinkle with abandon as the salt crunches between your fingers and the marriage of the carmelized sweet potatoes, spicy/sweet cinnamon, salt and olive oil is just wonderful.
Roast at 425 until you forget about them and begin to smell this wonderful aroma emerging from your oven. If you do remember them, stir them every so often and if they're taking a while to get started, cover with foil for about 30min and then uncover to let them brown. 2 sheet pans can take 60-90 minutes.

Note: I tried a variation last night and it looks promising. I drizzled the juice of 2 lemons on top of my sweet potatoes, then olive oil, then finely grated ginger (juice and all), chopped garlic, cayenne pepper and salt. When I tasted them, the ginger fairly jumped off the plate and the lemon provided a nice way of tuning down the sweetness of the potatoes.

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