Consider this side dish insurance for a sweet new year.
If you cultivate your own heirloom sweet potatoes, select White Yam, Porto Rico, Hayman or Korean Purple for the growing season; harvest early and cure them for the holidays.
Servings: 6 - 8
- For the salad
- 8 to 10 small (2 1/2 pounds total) sweet potatoes, such as white Hayman sweet potatoes, white/yellow O'Henry sweets, Porto Ricos, Beauregard (orange) or Georgia Jet (reddish), peeled and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
- 3 to 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 6 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and cut into slices (optional; see NOTE)
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley (optional)
- For the vinaigrette
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup (may be flavored with spices or herbs, such as ginger, rosemary or red pepper; in the case of the latter use less and combine with a tablespoon of plain maple syrup)
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon brown or dijon-style mustard
- 1 or 2 medium cloves garlic (1/2 tablespoon)
- 1 tablespoon minced onion or finely chopped scallion (white and light-green parts)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika
For the salad: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Have a large roasting pan at hand.
Combine the sweet potatoes, oil to taste and salt in the pan, tossing to coat evenly. Roast for about 15 minutes, then use a large spoon to turn the potatoes so they cook evenly. Roast for 15 minutes, then stir again; when pricked with the tines of a fork, the slightly caramelized potatoes should yield a little. If not, roast for 10 minutes.
Transfer the potatoes to a large bowl and cover tightly with foil; let them steam and cool for 20 to 30 minutes.
For the vinaigrette: Whisk together the oil, maple syrup, vinegar, mustard, garlic (to taste), onion or scallion, salt, pepper, cumin and paprika in a liquid measuring cup until well emulsified. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
Drizzle the potatoes with the maple-mustard vinaigrette and toss to coat evenly. If desired, add the slices of hard-cooked egg and the parsley; toss gently to combine.
NOTE: To hard-cook eggs, place eggs in a large saucepan and add enough cold water to cover them by an inch or two. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, then remove from the heat. Cover and let sit for 10 minutes. Drain and cover with cold water until the eggs are cool enough to peel.
From food historian Michael Twitty of Rockville.
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
E-mail questions to the Food Section at email@example.com.