Savoury Sweet Potatoes
Three ways how to use the versatile vegetable that isn't a potato
They may have the same name, but the potato and sweet potato are not from the same botanical family. The starchy sweet potato tuber also grows underground, but the only other connection is that they both originated in South America. Sweet potatoes contain proteins and vitamins A, B and C. Potatoes are rich in essential minerals such as iron, magnesium and potassium. Sweet potatoes are the world's seventh-largest food crop and their low glycaemic index has seen a resurgence of interest in this humble tuber. They can be used instead of potatoes in many dishes, but remember they are much sweeter.
SWEET POTATO TORTILLA WITH PEPPER SAUCE
250g bottled roasted red peppers, or canned pimentos, drained
5ml (1 tsp) red wine vinegar
5ml (1 tsp) smoked paprika
2.5ml (½ tsp) ground cumin
1 clove garlic, chopped
45ml (3 tbsp) olive oil
800g sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into thin rounds (about 0.5cm)
Salt and pepper
8 spring onions, finely sliced
6 extra-large eggs, beaten
For the sauce, place the peppers in a blender with the vinegar, remaining 15ml (1 tbsp) oil, paprika, cumin and garlic. Use extra garlic if you want a more pungent taste. Process until you have a smooth sauce. Set aside.
Heat 30ml (2 tbsp) of the oil in a large non-stick pan. Add the sweet potatoes and season. Cover and cook over a low heat for 10 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally so that the sweet potatoes caramelise a little - that's what makes them delicious.
Sprinkle the spring onions over the sweet potatoes and pour over the egg. Cook for about 8 minutes, shaking the pan until the egg is almost set. For a crisp topping, finish the tortilla off under a preheated grill until golden brown. Cut into wedges and serve with a dollop of pepper sauce.
SWEET POTATO GNOCCHI WITH GORGONZOLA SAUCE
120g gorgonzola cheese
45ml (3 tbsp) butter
Pinch of salt
125ml (½ cup) fresh cream
40g freshly grated parmesan cheese
750g sweet potatoes, baked until soft and then peeled
About 180g (1½ cups) cake flour
Fresh parsley, finely chopped, to serve
For the sauce, combine the milk, gorgonzola, butter and salt in a pot over low heat. Stir with a wooden spoon until the cheese melts. Gradually add the cream and parmesan, stirring until thickened. Add extra milk if too thick. Set aside to keep warm.
For the gnocchi, mash the cooked sweet potato or put through a potato ricer. Beat in just enough flour to make a smooth dough. It is better slightly sticky than too dry.
Lightly dust a work surface with flour and divide the dough in half. Shape each piece into a cylinder about 2.5cm thick. Slice the rolls into pieces 2cm long. Keep dusting the surface and your hands with flour as you work. Place each piece of gnocchi on the concave part of a fork and press against the prongs with a finger to shape.
Cook the gnocchi in batches of about 24 in a large pot of rapidly boiling salted water. Once they float to the surface, wait 7-10 seconds and remove with a slotted spoon. Serve immediately, with the sauce poured over and a sprinkling of parsley.
JANSSON'S TEMPTATION WITH A TWIST
Spelt differently, but said to have been named after Swedish gourmand and opera singer Pelle Janzon (1844-1889), this is a variation on the original potato casserole. I find the sweet potatoes play beautifully with the salty anchovies.
8 large sweet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
2 onions, sliced
10 anchovy fillets, drained - reserve 15ml (1 tbsp) of the liquid
300ml fresh cream
30ml (2 tbsp) fresh breadcrumbs
30ml (2 tbsp) butter, cubed
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Arrange a third of the sweet potato slices in the bottom of a greased baking dish. Top with half the onions and anchovies. Repeat the layers, ending with sweet potatoes on top. Drizzle over 100ml of the cream and the reserved liquid from the anchovies. Sprinkle over the breadcrumbs and dot with the butter.
Bake for 40 minutes, then pour over the remaining cream and bake for a further 15 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are tender.