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SWEET POTATO SALAD

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I guess you can get into lengthy debates about whether it’s a sweet potato or a yam. I don’t really care. Personally, I MUCH prefer the red-skinned, orange-fleshed ones that are marketed here as Red Garnets. The yellow-fleshed ones make me a little nauseous, but if that’s what you like, be my guest.

Sweet potatoes/yams usually make appearances only at Thanksgiving and Christmas, and then are smothered in a gooey sugary sauce and topped with marshmallows… a culinary travesty, as far as I’m concerned.  Incredibly sweet just roasted in their skins and served with nothing more than a little butter, sweet potatoes are available year round and are one of the most nutritious vegetables available. In addition to unbelievable amounts of Vitamin A, they’re high in B6, Vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, manganese, and fiber. They’re inexpensive, delicious, able to adapt to any part of a meal, and good for you too.

This gorgeous  salad was adapted slightly from a recipe in Epicurious. It requires very little cooking, so is great for a summer meal when you don’t want to heat up the kitchen excessively. Ultra-colorful with a mixture of soft and crunchy textures and Latin seasonings, sweet potato salad would pair beautifully with barbecued pork or chicken, or a ham or duck dish.

SWEET POTATO SALAD

  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch  chunks
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves + additional cilantro for garnish
  • 1/2 medium-size red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tomato, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 a red onion, chopped
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Steam the peeled, chopped sweet potatoes until just barely tender (eat one to test), then drain and run cold water over to stop cooking.
Alternatively, boil the sweet potato chunks 7 minutes, watching and testing very carefully to make sure they do not overcook; when barely tender, drain and run cold water over. Mushy sweet potatoes will not work in this recipe so it is vital they not be allowed to overcook. If you have mushy results, use those in pancakes or waffles or muffins. Start over with a new batch of sweet potatoes and don’t let them overcook.
Combine all other ingredients and toss with cooled sweet potatoes. Serve warm, or cover and chill 4-6 hours. Sprinkle with more chopped cilantro to serve.
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