I recently made this roasted sweet potato salad and fell in love. I feel like I've turned over a new leaf in salads-- why haven't I swapped out sweet potatoes for potatoes before? It adds so much more flavor! Seriously, this was one of the best things I've eaten in awhile. If you're like me, and not a huge fan of the "over-mayonnaised" salads that go along with summer BBQ's you will love this too. It was so colorful--orange from the sweet potatoes, red from the peppers, green from the jalapenos, onions, and cilantro, and purple from the shallots. Roasting the sweet potatoes brought out their natural sweetness and the mirin further enhanced that. Finally, the rest of the vegetables are lightly sauteed to soften them slightly and take away any harsh bite while still leaving plenty of good crunch.
If you're headed to a party or BBQ for the Labor Day weekend this would be a great option. This salad feels very transitional to me, perfect for the time of year-- the colors and use of sweet potatoes say that fall is coming, but it's served as a salad which keeps this from being too heavy a dish for the warm weather. Everyone enjoy, and if you are riding out Hurricane Irene this weekend, stay safe!
Nonstick vegetable cooking spray
3 3/4 pounds red-skinned sweet potatoes (yams), peeled, cut into 3/4- inch cubes
5 tbs extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2/3 cup thinly sliced shallots (about 3 large)
1 red bell pepper, very thinly sliced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded, thinly sliced
1 1/2 tbs. mirin (sweet Japanese rice wine)*
4 large green onions, chopped
2/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
*Mirin can be found in the Asian foods section of some supermarkets or at Japanese markets.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray 2 large rimmed baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray. Toss potatoes with 3 tbs. oil in a large bowl; divide between 2 sheets. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast 10 minutes. Reverse sheets and roast until potatoes are tender and browned, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes longer. Transfer potatoes to a large bowl.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add shallots and saute 3 minutes. Add bell pepper and jalapeno; saute until beginning to soften, about 3 minutes. Add mirin; simmer 1 minute. Mix in green onions and stir 15 seconds. Scrape mixture over potatoes and lightly toss. Mix in cilantro. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Adapted from Bon Apetit, May 2009