Roasted Vegetables Recipe: Japanese Sweet Potatoes
I have been roasting vegetables for dinner now that the cold weather has settled in.
This is the time of the year that I want foods that are both warm and comforting.
I’ve come to the realization that roasted vegetables are missing from my restaurant offerings. I mean if I crave them, others must too. Perfect timing, as I work on new ideas for a menu over haul in early 2012.
Late this afternoon, my hankering to turn on the oven and warm my kitchen led me to cleaning out my baskets of potatoes. I found five Japanese sweet potatoes and one garnet yam. I peeled the skin off both potatoes. In fact, it is best to remove the skin from the Japanese potatoes as its skin retains a bitter flavor and often can look funky with bruises and discoloration. I could have left the skin on the garnet yam, but I wanted the dish to be consistent. I rinsed the potatoes under cool water and cut into 2-inches wide pieces. I like to keep the potatoes large to get the true essence as you bite into the soft sweetness. Toss in a large bowl with a little olive oil and sea salt. On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, arrange the potatoes and then, dust with cracked pepper.
My oven had been pre-heated to about 375-400º, when I placed the potatoes in,
roast in the high heat for about 25 minutes or until potatoes are soft and browned. Most of the browning takes place on the bottom side. See photos below to show potatoes cooked on top, then turned over to show how they brown on the bottom.
While the potatoes were roasting, I decided to read a bit about Japanese yams or sweet
potatoes; I see they are called by either name. I just finished reading Lisa See’s last three books. Her stories are heartfelt and magical and she always tells you what her characters are eating. I enjoyed hearing about these potatoes and many other dishes from country-styled Japanese cooking. Compared to sweet potatoes and yams, these potatoes are denser, dryer, and sweeter. Their flesh is a pale creamy color and the skin is deep rust with a purplish hue to it. I have been known to eat these every day for weeks on end. I’ve yet to tire of them. Make this dish, I bet you’ll love them as much as I do.