I know enigma is not a word associated with food, but sweet potatoes have always been a bit of an enigma to me. Puzzling. Contradictory. Random. A potato that’s sweet? Who wants that? My lifelong experience with sweet potatoes has been one of affectionate aversion because they remind me of the holidays–all syrupy sweet with brown sugar and marshmallows–and they remind me of the disgusting smell of them cooking in my mom’s kitchen. But the sweet potato movement of recent years is much, much different than the associations I’ve made from my childhood. Now sweet potatoes can be savory and rich and definitely not sweet.
I started grooving on sweet potatoes when I discovered the white-skinned variety shopping for ingredients for Neely’s Two Potato Salad–which is ridiculous, by-the-way (Foodnetwork.com).
I think my local grocery store only had the white-skinned variety, and I didn’t know enough to look for something different. The salad didn’t have the color contrast that it would with the orange-fleshed variety, but the flavor burst in my mouth tuned into the contrast in flavors. Since then, I’ve been experimenting with recipes that include sweet potatoes where one might not expect to find them. Like Shrimp Enchiladas with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Parsnips (Epicurious).
My search for healthier dishes has pointed me in the sweet potato direction as I’ve experimented with Paleo and Clean Food recipes. The downside? My husband doesn’t like them. Like, he has my childhood aversion to sweet potatoes in the 52-year-old form. But I’m determined because they’re so yummy and have twice as much fiber as a russet potato. So last night, here was my attempt–Salted, baked sweet potatoes with my Rosemary-infused Olive Oil.
I cut one sweet potato in half then in half lengthwise, placed them cut-side-up in the baking dish, drizzled my olive oil, a healthy seasoning of Spiceologist’s Pink Peppercorn Lemon Thyme spice blend and a pinch of my Lemon-Thyme Sea Salt blend. Fantastic (said me). Okay (said husband). OK is a move in the right direction. I love the contrast between sweet and salty or spicy, so my new goal for sweet potatoes is to try them with Chipotle or Sriracha. I love almost everything Alton Brown does, and he his Chipotle Smashed Sweet Potatoes (Foodnetwork.com) are tempting, but I’m going to try the cubed-roasted version from Taste of Home. What will be the verdict?