BATATA DOCE A MODA DO PICO
I didn’t taste my first sweet potato until I was 19, when I met my Azorean family. They had been baked in the oven with skin on and they tasted so good that I thought they were dessert.
I have enjoyed them simply prepared ever since, often just boiled and mashed with a dab of butter or olive oil. Sweet Potatoes are a simple, no-nonsense, decadent vegetable. They’re also a powerhouse of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants; a good source of vitamins A, B5, B6, thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, and carotenoids. Since I discovered their nutritional value, I’ve been trying to fit sweet potatoes into my family’s diet as much as I can.
Sweet potatoes come in orange, white and purple skinned variety. The orange potatoes contain more beta-carotene, but they are all good and you can’t go wrong. Store them in a cool, dark pantry or a refrigerator, away from light exposure, and eat them within two weeks of purchasing and before they become starchy.
You can prepare them mashed or fried, and I’ve listed recipe options for both below. I hope I’ve inspired you to begin including sweet potatoes into your diet.
Orange-Infused Mashed Sweet Potatoes
On a recent trip to the island of Pico, I was inspired by a memorable sweet potato side dish. The juice and peel of an orange provide a simple flavour-enhancing boost to the much-loved sweet-potato mash.
- 2 1/2 lb (1.25 kG) sweet potatoes (about 3), peeled and cut into 2-inch (5 cm) chunks
- 2 Tbsp (30 mL) butter
- 1 Tbsp (15 mL) orange zest
- 1/2 tsp (2 mL) fine salt
- 1/4 cup (60 mL) orange juice
- 2 Tbsp (30 mL) whole milk
- Fine salt and coarsely ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 Tbsp (30 mL) finely chopped fresh parsley
- In a large saucepan, cover the potatoes with water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat ans simmer until the potatoes are tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain.
- Transfer to a mixing bowl and stir in the butter, orange zest, salt and half of the orange juice and milk. Using a potato masher, mash until smooth. If necessary to reach the desired consistency, stir in the remaining orange juice and milk. Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper. Serve with parsley sprinkled overtop.
CRISPY CINNAMON SWEET POTATOES
Here’s another tasty spin on sweet potatoes that I learned in the professional kitchen: Sprinkle ground cinnamon onto thick slices of unpeeled, cooked sweet potatoes. Fry them in a hot oiled saucepan until the end are browned and crispy. Serve warm.