These are the most vibrant and complex-flavored roasted sweet potatoes and yams that I’ve ever tasted. Each bite of soft and crispy sweet potato laced with a balsamic reduction and savory green onions comes with a touch of mild heat from thin slices of chili pepper. Dressed up for dinner, these Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Yams shine with color and bold flavors in holiday menus and everyday dinners. Try them on buffets as well, as they even taste delicious at room temperature.
“[We] look at what we prepare from extraordinary angles and try to make it even tastier, more sensual and vibrant. Drawing on an abundance of culinary traditions – with a focus on the Mediterranean – we strive to surprise and stir. And we do this using bold flavours and daring colours, no apologies.”
Vivid colors and vibrant flavors are the hallmark of Israeli cook, food writer and chef du jour (who just happened to attend the same cooking school I did) Yotam Ottolenghi’s cuisine. So I wanted to see and taste for myself why Ottolenghi and his books have received such rave reviews. With great anticipation I prepared the recipe I found on Tasting Table for Ottolenghi’s Roasted Sweet Potatoes.
Such a creative and inventive recipe that even though I tend to put a few individual touches on most recipes, there was little to add with this one. Other than including both roasted sweet potatoes and yams for color and texture, my changes were minor. I replaced the refined white sugar with a little local honey. The salt was reduced. And I increased the oven time for roasting the sweet potatoes and yams.
Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Yams
I love Ottolenghi’s method for roasting sweet potato wedges. It is now my favorite method as well. He uses a very hot 475 degree oven. The potatoes get cut into six wedges each and tossed with a little oil and salt and pepper. Placed skin side down they roast about 30 minutes until tender in the middle and dark around their edges. You now have perfectly roasted sweet potatoes and yams. But wait till you taste them served with the scallions, chile and balsamic reduction. Wow!
Sweet potatoes and yams
Just a reminder about the difference between sweet potatoes and yams. In the 1950’s red-skinned, orange-fleshed sweet potatoes were introduced to the U.S. as “yams.” This helped differentiate them from the white-skinned, white-fleshed sweet potatoes consumers already knew.
The real difference between these two varieties of sweet potatoes has to do with their texture when cooked. “Yams” refers to the soft, moist, orange-fleshed potatoes. The dryer, firmer and white-fleshed ones are labeled as sweet potatoes.
Wouldn’t you agree that they look quite gorgeous together in this recipe?
Inspired and adapted from a recipe from Tasting Table Chefs’ Recipes which was adapted from a recipe from Jerusalem, A Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi.
Note: this is a vegan recipe when you replace the honey with another sweetener such as maple syrup or agave.
Makes 6 servings
Active Time: 15 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes
3 medium yams, about 1¼ pounds
2 medium sweet potatoes, about 1 pound
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt (I use Celtic salt)
8 twists freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon light honey
1 tablespoon olive oil
1½ bunches green onions (scallions)
1 mild chili, such as a jalapeno or Serrano (red, if available)
Preheat the oven to 475 degrees.
Toss the wedges in a large bowl with 2 tablespoons olive oil and the salt and freshly ground black pepper. Arrange the wedges skin side down on a parchment-lined baking pan.
Bake for 30 minutes until the potatoes are soft and their edges are deeply colored.
While the potatoes are roasting, reduce the balsamic vinegar and honey in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil and then simmer for 1-2 minutes until slightly thickened. Remove from the heat.
Seed and very thinly slice the pepper.
Remove the roasted potatoes from the oven. Begin heating a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and stir in the green onions and chili. Sauté them together until the scallions brown.
Remove the roasted sweet potatoes and yams to a serving platter. Scatter the scallion-chili mixture on top of the potatoes. Drizzle with the warm balsamic reduction.
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