Spicy mashy sweet potato ~ Ham Pie Sandwiches

10 November 2008

Spicy mashy sweet potato

Or: one item we will be having for orphans' thanksgiving this year.

Sweet potatoes are generally softer than white potatoes, so they don't need addenda to create the right texture. My addenda are all for taste.

Strangely enough, the taste in question is not "pure sugar". Those horrible marshmallow-covered things! Ugh! I mean, I do like an occasional sweet potato pie, but as a dessert, not a vegetable. "Occasional" here means "I think I last had one when I worked at the Produce Station in Ann Arbor six or seven years ago". One of the local farmer's marketeers had gotten us to carry her homemade hand pies. Those things were so good.

I guess I have to make a sweet potato pie sometime soon. In the meantime, I spiced my sweet potatoes with garlic and ginger and whipped them into a pile of spicy orange deliciousness.

Mashed sweet potato with garlic and ginger

sweet potato/yam
olive oil
fresh ginger
salt, pepper

Put a pot of water on the back burner and bring it to a boil. While it's coming up, peel your sweet potatoes and dice them into bits. I used one big sweet potato for a gargantuan 1-person dinner serving. In the future I think I'd make more, just for leftovers: how awesome would garlic-ginger sweet potato cakes be?

When the water comes to a boil, add your potatoes, lid the pot, and simmer until they're soft. I think mine took about twenty minutes. Dicing, incidentally, makes the potato bits cook faster; big chunks of potato will take a lot longer. Thank you, physics!

While the potatoes are boiling, smash and mince a bunch of garlic. Peel a hunk of ginger with the edge of a spoon , then mince it up too. I used six or seven cloves of garlic and a thumb-sized chunk of ginger. You can use more or less depending on spice tolerance and etc.

Warm several glugs of olive oil in a saute pan. I think you could also get away with using some peanut oil here, if you want a peanut element. Or maybe toasted sesame oil. Anyway. Throw your garlic and ginger into the pan and soften them on medium heat.

When the potatoes are done and the garlic-ginger mix is golden brown and smells so good you have to restrain yourself from a headlong dive into the pan, it's time to mash. Drain the potatoes, dump them into the saute pan, salt and pepper the business, and mash everything together. You can also add a little more oil after you take everything off the heat, especially if you want a specific bit of raw olive/etc oil flavor.

That's it. Eat it.

Clearly you could spice sweet potatoes with a number of other items if you are not into garlic and ginger. On the other hand, how could you possibly not be into garlic and ginger?

- Cayenne and honey, with or without butter: toast cayenne in a pan, then add honey, let it get liquid, and mash it into your potatoes. Butter or oil will give you some barrier against burning your mouth off.
- A ton of fresh chopped uncooked parsley.
- Maybe something in the fennel/star anise category. I think I would do this one with big slices roasted together, though. Oh: a TART.
- Apples and onions, like I wrote about before. You could whack them whole on top of the sweet potatoes, or puree the whole business together.
- For that matter, pear and toasted walnut or pecan, shallot optional: tiny crispy bits on top of the soft potato.
- Or dried cranberries or cherries, soaked in water and then just steamed hot. I would do toasted pecans here too. There's my sweet potato pie.

No comments: