Two decades ago, you would have been pressed to find a sweet potato in Toronto, but now even large chains carry this delicious root vegetable.
Most people confuse sweet potatoes, which are roots of ipomea batatas (morning glory family) native to Peru, Ecuador, Central American countries, with yams, a starchy tuber of South America and the Caribbean.
Sweet potatoes were cultivated in prehistoric times and grown in the U.S.A. for centuries. When C. Columbus laded in North America (1492), natives were happy to provide him and his crew with samples of the roots, some of the crewmembers took home samples but they never thrived in Europe nor did they become popular.
Sweet potatoes are elongated with multiple growing points, smooth, thin skin, tapered ends, and blocky centre.
Rich with vitamins A and C, B6, iron, potassium, and minerals, they contain more fibre than oatmeal. Naturally they are low in sodium.
In North America this versatile vegetable is underrated and underutilized.
They can be baked, broiled, sautéed and boiled, and substituted for potatoes, apples, or squash practically in any recipe.
In season from august to November, sweet potatoes must be “cured” for five to seven days in sheds at 27 C (85 F) at a relative humidity of 85 – 95. This toughens the skin and heals any damage that may have occurred during harvesting.
Sweet potatoes should be stored at 12 C (55F).
If you want to complement your pork roast or roasted chicken whip equal amounts of boiled sweet potatoes, carrots, and parsnips. Season with cinnamon and nutmeg, and smoothen by adding butter and milk.
The imaginative chef can invent many recipes using sweet potatoes and dazzle restaurant patrons.
Rosemary Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Yield 6 portions
2 lbs (910 grams) sweet potatoes cut into 1-½ inch (4 cm.) pieces
3 large cloves of garlic, peeled and coarse chopped
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary
2 Tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
¼ roasted pine nuts
2 Tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper or to taste
In roasting pan combine sweet potatoes, garlic, rosemary and oil.
Toss to blend well. Roast at 375 F fro 40 minutes, turning potatoes occasionally. Just before serving season with pine nuts, parley, salt and pepper.
Sweet and Sour Slaw
Yield 4 portions
2 cups sweet potatoes cut in julienne strips
¾ cup celery, julienne cut
¼ cup thinly sliced scallions
2 Tbsp chopped cilantro
1 Tbsp roasted sesame seeds
salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp honey
In a bowl, cover sweet potatoes with ice water. Let stand for 10 minutes, drain.
In clean bowl, combine potatoes with remaining ingredients, and toss to blend. Chill until ready to serve.
|Writer – Hrayr Berberoglu – E-mail – Read his books?
Professor B offers seminars to companies and interested parties on any category of wine, chocolates, chocolates and wine, olive oils, vinegars and dressings, at a reasonable cost.