I had no plans to write about last night's dinner; Kevin grilled some chicken, and I made a salad from the May issue of Bon Appetit. A pleasant, easy Mother's Day meal, but not one for the blog.
But as I gazed down at the assembled salad, I changed my mind. It looked stunning in its simplicity of sweet potatoes, peppers, and herbs, and after a few forkfuls, I was enamored. I whipped out the camera and snapped some pics.
The salad in question is Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Red Bell Peppers. In the end, a post is justified, as I made a number of changes. For example, I left out the jalapeno (it's heresy to say this in Texas, but I'm not a fan) and added hot smoked paprika (pimenton) to the potatoes before they roasted. I'm also specifying the amount of salt, because you need ample seasoning on the potatoes to make the salad sing. Since this salad was chosen in very large part because I had everything I needed on hand, I swapped 1/2 a medium onion for the shallots (none of the latter in my larder), and, for the same reason, used cooking Sherry in place of the mirin.
Finally, the salad was crying for acid upon first taste, so I added a tablespoon of Sherry vinegar. When next I make this, I will add the vinegar at the same time as the Sherry, as I've indicated in my directions below.
The salad is exceptional served warm (warmer than room temperature), and the leftovers today at lunch were equally scrumptious. This is definitely a salad to impress, and according to my wry husband, that is praise indeed for a salad.
Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Fresh Herbs, Red Pepper, & Sherry Dressing
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
3 3/4 pounds red-skinned sweet potatoes (yams), peeled, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided use
1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon smoked hot paprika (or 1/4 teaspoon cayenne)
2/3 cup thinly sliced onion (about 1/2 of a medium onion)
1 red bell pepper, seeded and very thinly sliced
1 1/2 tablespoons sweet Sherry
1 tablespoon Sherry vinegar
4 large green onions, chopped
2/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray 2 large rimmed baking sheets with nonstick spray. Toss potatoes with 1 tablespoon oil in large bowl; divide between sheets. Sprinkle with the salt and smoked paprika. Roast 10 minutes. Reverse sheets and roast until potatoes are tender and browned, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes longer. Transfer to large bowl.
Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sliced onion and sauté 3 minutes. Add bell pepper; sauté until beginning to soften, about 3 minutes. Add Sherry and vinegar; simmer 1 minute. Mix in green onions and stir 15 seconds. Scrape mixture over potatoes. Mix in cilantro. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes 8-10 servings.