If you keep track of such things, today is National Cook a Sweet Potato Day. I don’t need a holiday to make a sweet potato, as it’s one of my favorite foods. But I figured it was a good reason to celebrate – and to share the love.
Sweet potatoes are easy to bake. After washing the skin (so it's clean if you like to eat it), simply put the potato on an ungreased cookie sheet in a pre-heated 375-400 degree oven. After about an hour, it is ready - crisp skin on the outside and soft and fragrant on the inside. The potato is done if you can push a fork through the potato easily.
Microwaving is much faster than baking. Depending on the power of your microwave, a single potato should be done in 3-5 minutes at high, plus 5-10 minutes covered after that to let the heat fully cook it. But the texture of a microwaved potato isn’t nearly as nice as a baked one and microwaving makes the skin limp.
A combination method is a reasonable compromise; microwaving for 2-3 minutes per potato, followed by baking for 30-40 minutes.
Recently, I discovered that roasting (cooking the potato at a high temperature) provides a nice change that yields soft texture inside with a bit of crunch on the outside, in less than half the time it takes to bake a sweet potato. Even better, thinly slicing the sweet potato before roasting it makes a wonderful presentation.
In honor of Mardi Gras (yesterday), I seasoned my roasted sweet potato slivers with a tangy New Orleans product called Kitchen Witch from a fabulous French Quarter store of the same name. I found this treasure last year during a trip to Neew Orleans, I spent a wonderful morning chatting with store owner Philippe LaMancusa and buying several cookbooks and various food specialties, including this spicy mixture. You can use any other seasoning or crushed, dried herb that suits you.
What's your favorite way to make sweet potatoes?
Roasted Sweet Potato Slivers
Servings – 1- 2 depending on size of potato Cost - $1 (cost of the potato)
- Cutting board
- Ziploc bag (quart or gallon size)
- Cookie sheet
- 1 medium-large sweet potato
- 3 – 3 ½ tablespoons of oil (preferably safflower because it has a high smoking point)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Optional - Dash or 2 of seasoning or small amount of crushed, dried herb such as thyme
- Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
- Cut the sweet potato in half lengthwise, being careful of your fingers. Then cut each half again, also lengthwise. Depending on the size of the potato, continue cutting each sliver in half until they are approximately ½” wide at the widest point.
- Put the potato slivers in the bag. Add 2 tablespoons of oil, salt and pepper, and the optional additional seasoning. Close the bag and shake it to coat the slivers with oil and seasonings.
- Put 1 – 1½ tablespoons of oil on the cookie sheet and pre-heat for 3 minutes. This step is very important; the oil should sizzle when you add the slivers.
- After the oil on the cookie sheet is heated, remove the slivers from the Ziploc bag and put them in a single layer on the cookie sheet. (You can double the recipe easily, but in that case use a large cookie sheet or two, so that there is room between the slivers and they can cook without touching each other.) By the way, the dark spots on the sweet potato slivers are the seasoning, not anything untoward.
- Cook for 10 minutes. Turn the slivers over and cook for additional 8-10 minutes. After they have been turned, the underside has a tendency to burn, so check it after 8 minutes and remove if slightly browned on the outside and soft on the inside.