Roasted sweet potato with pecan and maple

Ingredients

  • 2 sweet potatoes (about 850g in total)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil 
  • 35g pecan nuts
  • 4 spring onions, roughly chopped
  • 4 tbsp roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tbsp roughly chopped coriander
  • ¼ tsp dried chilli flakes 
  • 35g sultanas salt and pepper
  • Dressing:
  • 4 tbsp olive oil 
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup 
  • 1 tbsp sherry vinegar 
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp orange juice
  • 2 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
Roasted sweet potato with pecan and maple
    Serves 4 generously

You might think this recipe doesn't sound right. It didn't sound quite right to us either when we came across it on the highly useful recipe site, www.epicurious.com. The idea of adding maple syrup and sultanas to an (already) sweet potato and then mixing lots of herbs and spices in as well just couldn't be right - unless you are an American. But we were somehow tempted to try it and it did work, creating a vivid and intense mix of tastes and textures. This version boasts additional old favourites of ours: chilli and coriander. Try it as a side dish at your Christmas table or as an original picnic salad.

(p 67, The Ottolenghi cookbook)

  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/Gas Mark 5.
  2. Start with the sweet potatoes. Don’t peel them! Cut them into 2cm cubes, spread them out on a baking tray and drizzle with the olive oil. Sprinkle with some salt and pepper, mix well with your hands and then roast in the oven for about 30 minutes, until just tender. Turn them over gently half way through cooking.
  3. In a separate baking tray, toast the pecans for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and chop roughly.
  4. To make the dressing, whisk together all the ingredients in a small bowl with some salt and pepper. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary.
  5. When the potatoes are ready, transfer them to a large bowl while still hot. Add the spring onions, parsley, coriander, chilli, pecans and sultanas. Pour the dressing over and toss gently to blend, then season to taste.
  6. Serve at once or at room temperature.