roasted sweet potatoes & fresh figs
You thought I’d forgotten Wegetable Vednesdays? I’ve taken quite the break – but all along the way I’ve been gathering inspiration. I’ll try to make up for a little lost time with the next two installments. And then we’re back on track…
New things to do with
the same old vegetables every Wednesday around here.
It’s nearly Thanksgiving so let’s talk turkey. So to speak.
You’ve noticed…getting a feast on the table is no small fete. The most challenging part of the entire undertaking is getting all things to the table either as steamy hot or icy cold as you want them.
Maybe you’ve got your own methods for ensuring this happens as we idealize it should – maybe it’s one well-orchestrated movement at your house, with ten experienced helping hands, moving seamlessly in your commercial-sized kitchen while your great uncle plays Mozart on the concertina and your kids play board games on the rug. But if that’s not you (and it sure isn’t me)…
here’s a thought…
What if a couple delicious side dishes were meant to appear
– utterly perfect –
at room temperature?
“room temperature, on purpose!”
that is a thought…
One such dish might look like this:
And with the next post (tomorrow or Friday) I’ll show you another. (No feast will get the best of us!)
spoken raved about Yotam Ottolenghi before. (See Marinated Turkey Breast, Cauliflower & Cumin Fritters… or a favorite Roasted Chicken with Sumac, Za’atar & Lemon, or Roasted Eggplant with Pomegranates & a Buttermilk Sauce …. if you missed the raves.) This dish comes straight out of his latest (and glorious) cookbook, Jerusalem.
~ serves 4 ~
~ or 8 if two or more vegetable side dishes are served ~
Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Fresh Figs
4 small Sweet Potatoes (2¼ lbs. 1 kg)
5 T. Olive Oil
scant 3 T. Balsamic Vinegar *
1½ T. Superfine Sugar
12 Green Onions, sliced in half lengthwise, then 1½” segments
1 Red Chile, thinly sliced
6 Ripe Figs, quartered **
5 oz. (150 g) soft Goat’s Milk Cheese (optional)
Flaky Sea Salt & Freshly-ground Pepper
*no need to use a premium grade balsamic for this one
**A note on the figs – Ottolenghi suggests here to go for a plump fruit with an irregular shape and a slightly split bottom…some resistance but not much…
Try to smell the sweetness.
(How to pick a fig, or how to live a life?)
Preheat the oven to 475°F (240°C) – yes very hot – not a typo.
Wash the sweet potatoes, halve lengthwise and then cut each half again into 3 long wedges. Toss with 3 Tablespoons of the olive oil, 2 teaspoons salt and some black pepper. Spread the wedges out (skin side down) on a baking sheet and cook for 18 to 25 minutes, until tender but not mushy. (Because it’s impossible to slice these odd-bodied things into regular & even wedges, you’ll want to watch them carefully as they cook. Some will be ready a good 5 minutes before others. I find that most tend to be done ahead of schedule.) Remove the tray from the oven and allow to cool down.
Make the balsamic reduction: (If you choose, you could buy a commercial balsamic glaze instead, but this is so easy.)
In a small saucepan over medium-high heat bring balsamic vinegar and sugar to a boil. Decrease the heat and simmer for 2 to 4 minutes, until it thickens. Be sure to remove the pan from the heat when the vinegar is still runnier than honey as it will continue to thicken as it cools. You can stir in a drop of water before serving if it doesn’t flow freely.
Arrange the sweet potatoes on a serving platter. Heat the remaining oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Toss in the green onions and chile. Fry for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring often and careful not to burn the chile. Spoon this mixture over the sweet potatoes. Nestle the figs amongst the wedges and drizzle the balsamic reduction overtop. Crumble goat cheese if using.
Serve at Room Temperature
This dish can easily sit out for more than an hour or two. Sweet!
One last note – there’s a bit of disagreement about what’s a yam and what’s a sweet potato. I’ve got my own opinion. But what I’ve used for this dish is that burnt orange-bodied root frequently called a yam. I think you could use either.
(To print the recipe, click here.)