Sunday, July 5, 2009

Grilled Sweet Potatoes

Submitted by Michelle

My cousin Kathy is a rockstar when it comes to cooking. While she isn't a trained professional in the area, she knows her way around the kitchen and has a great palate when it comes to combining unique flavors. One year, either for my birthday or Christmas, she gifted me with a recipe box filled with her favorite recipes, all of which she had handwritten in her English professor scrawl. I cherish these recipes, not only because they are fantastic, but because she took the time to write them out herself. There is something special about a recipe written in my cousin or aunt's or mother's or grandmother's handwriting that cannot be replaced by a computer generated print out from the Food Network or other source. And I like the idea of someday passing my recipe box, filled with recipes written in various handwritings, onto a niece or nephew who shares my interest in cooking.

Anyway, one of my favorite recipes from Kathy is for Grilled Sweet Potatoes with Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette. I made it yesterday to accompany our 4th of July menu. Here's what you need:

Sweet potatoes, olive oil, lime juice, salt, cayenne pepper, and cilantro.
That red thing in the picture is called a "salt pig." It is so useful in the kitchen. I keep it full of Kosher salt and can grab as much or as little as I like to sprinkle on foods and into recipes.

I parcooked the sweet potato in boiling water. After it cooled, I peeled it and cut it into wedges. Before grilling the sweet potato, I put a light coating of olive on on the wedges.
Some people like to oil their grill rather than their food in order to save calories. I used to be a proponent of this thinking until I heard Bobby Flay (celebrity chef) say, "Season your food, not your grill." Makes sense, doesn't it? And I found that my sweet potatoes were much less likely to stick when I oiled them rather than the grill. I grilled my sweet potatoes on all 3 sides.
As soon as I took them off the grill, I immediately put them in a bowl and poured the cilantro-lime vinaigrette over them. The natural sugars in the sweet potato, along with the residual heat from the grill, turns the vinaigrette into a tasty, sweet and sour glaze on the potatoes.
Along with the sweet potatoes, I also made a simple saute of summer squash with red spring onion, garlic and oregano, all from my box of produce from my local farm.
I also had some red beets on hand that I had roasted a few days prior, so I added them to my plate, along with a sweet piece of corn on the cob and some grilled chicken breast.
Not bad for an impromptu 4th of July meal.

GRILLED SWEET POTATOES

*Parboil whole sweet potatoes for 20 - 30 minutes (until fork tender but not mushy.)
*When cool, peel and quarter lengthwise, creating long wedges.
*While potatoes cool, make vinaigrette by whisking together the juice of 1-2 limes, 2-3 Tbls. olive oil, 2 Tbls. cilantro, a pinch of cayenne and salt to taste.
*Grill wedges for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until nice grill marks appear.
*Toss hot potatoes with vinaigrette. Good to eat hot or at room temperature.

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