10 November 2011

Sweet Sweet Potatoes

See that photo there? That's a picture of a meal I made (and ate) sometime in early September.* I have an embarrassing stash of similar photos--pictures of meals gone by, snapped hurriedly just before digging in, on the off chance that I might want to write about them someday. Usually they end up gathering cobwebs in iphoto, never to see the light of day. But not this one. This one lives again because I want to tell you about something special, something delicious, something you see right there in the lower left corner of the frame.

This very special thing, my friends, is a sweet potato. Now I don't know about you but I've always felt kind of meh about sweet potatoes. Sure, I like sweet potato fries or sweet potato biscuits as much as the next girl, but faced with a baked sweet potato on my plate right there next to the meatloaf (or tofu), seasonally appropriate superfood or not, I lose enthusiasm. Even gussied up with a generous pat of butter and maybe a shake or two of cinnamon, they're just so...sweet. Endlessly, monotonously sweet. Don't get me wrong, sweet is good, but I guess I tend to think it's best when tempered with a bit of savory. I like contrast.

To my very great delight, I recently stumbled upon a recipe from an old Gourmet that has turned the sigh-inducing baked sweet potato into something I crave. They call it Japanese Sweet Potatoes and really, it's so simple, it's more of a treatment than a recipe. All you need are some sweet potatoes, some butter, a bit of miso, and some green onions or chives and you're set. Even better, it can be scaled up to feed a crowd or down to feed your lone (but awesome) party of one as needed. So eat your potatoes, my sweets, they're good for ya!

*And those are Ciel's Spicy Chickpeas! Kale salad recipe coming soon...

Japanese Sweet Potatoes
Gourmet, 2007

8 small sweet potatoes (4-5 lbs total)
1 1/2 stick unsalted butter, well softened
1 1/2 tablespoons miso paste (preferably white)
3 Tablespoons finely chopped scallion (or chives)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F with rack in upper third of oven.

Prick potatoes all over with a fork, place on foil-lined baking sheet and bake until very soft, 45 mins to an hour.

While potatoes cook, stir together remaining ingredients until combined, reserving a few of teh scallions.

When ready, slice hot potatoes lengthwise and squeeze from each end to open and puff them up a bit. Spoon the seasoned butter into the center and serve garnished with a sprinkle of scallions.