OTTOLENGHI'S ROASTED SWEET POTATOES & FRESH FIGS
The sweet potato, a power packed superfood, is one of the oldest and most nutritious vegetables on earth. It does seem, however, that when something grows well in the ground in New England, a plethora of it shows up in farmer's markets and CSA's. Have no fear, Ottolenghi is here--to the vegetable rescue again. When no one wants to see another mashed or frite, these wedges dazzle the dinner plate. Local organically grown sweet potatoes are quite small, but are perfect for this recipe. The figs and green onions pop next to the bright orange flesh of the potatoes. The creamy mild tang of the goat cheese softens and balances the balsamic, fig, and sweet potato sweetness. One of the best things about this dish is that it can be made early in the day and left to sit out (be careful or it may disappear before supper). This dish contributes a colorful, harvest themed side dish to the Thanksgiving feast.
Any variety of sweet potato or yam works well. If fresh figs are not in season, simply buy dried figs and plump in hot water.
4 small sweet potatoes
5 tablespoons olive oil
Scant 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons superfine sugar
12 green onions, halved lengthwise and cut into 11/ inch segments
1 red chile, thinly sliced
6 ripe figs, quartered
5 ounces soft goat’s milk cheese (optional)
Maldon sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees F.
2. Wash the sweet potatoes, halve them lengthwise, and then cut each half again similarly into 3 long wedges. Mix 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 about 25 minutes, until soft but not mushy. Remove from the oven and leave to cool down.
3. To make the balsamic reduction, place the balsamic vinegar and sugar in a SMALL SAUCEPAN. Bring to a boil, then decrease the heat and simmer for 2-4 minutes, until it thickens. Be sure to remove the pan from the heat when the vinegar is still runnier than honey; it will continue to thicken as it cools. Stir in a drop of water before serving if it does become too thick to drizzle.
4. Arrange the sweet potatoes on a SERVING PLATTER. Heat the remaining oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat and add the green onions and chile. Fry for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring often to make sure not to burn the chile. Spoon the oil, onions, and chile over the sweet potatoes. Dot the figs among the wedges and then drizzle over the balsamic reduction. Serve at room temperature. Crumble the cheese over the top, if using.