Sweet potatoes are one of those vegetable that I’ve seen in the grocery store as long as I can remember, though until recent years they were a genetically modified mystery. The ones in the store are humongas, awkwardly shaped and entirely ugly – at least on the outside. The trend in the ‘premium casual’ restaurants in Canada (Earls, Moxies, Joey’s) has been to introduce sweet potato or yam fries. By now that has become old news, but what makes this vegetable to fantastic is the combination of its versatitliy and the fantastic flavour/color. There are white yams in the store that look the same on the outside, but don’t have the same color and flavour of their orange cousin – don’t be fooled by these as I was. They taste dull and woody and the texture is tough, so whats the point?
I found these relatively small potatoes at a farmers market, and its should be noted that they aren’t small at all – this size is natural. It would seem my fear of the misshapen monsters at the grocery is entirely valid! Nature didn’t intend to have such ridiculous potatoes, and if you have a natural option, then neither should you.
I roasted these potatoes the same way I roast any potatoes: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees celsius, and place the baking sheet into the oven while it’s preheating. Clean, peel and dry the potatoes – although with natural sweet potatoes, it isn’t necessary to peel the skin as it is still quite delicate. Chop into reasonable bite sized pieces while trying to make them all the same size so they’ll bake evenly. Once in a bowl add 2 glugs of extra virgin olive oil, 3-4 cloves minced garlic, fresh rosemary, fresh thyme, salt & pepper and fresh lemon juice. Toss until everything is mixed and coated evenly. Remove the hot baking sheet from the oven and place the potatoes on the sheet and hear it sizzle – if its not sizzling, don’t worry about it. Spread the potatoes evenly and throw them back in the over for about 30 minutes. Remove them around the 15 minute mark and turn to get a nice golden crisp on all sides. Once the potatoes are soft to touch, they’re ready. I use the same recipe for any other roasted potatoes, just bake a little longer.
Sweet potatoes are more delicate than other varieties and therefore take less cook time. Try to achieve a crispy outside while the inside is still sweet and buttery. Serve in place of potatoes anywhere – I think they go great with bison. I’ve tried mashing, frying and grilling sweet potatoes before, but nothing has been as consistent, successful and easy as this – so try it!
Let me know your uses for sweet potatoes!