Winter is the perfect time for baking the tubers of the season for dinner, and yams have many culinary and nutritional qualities. Preparing these give you a great excuse to use the oven and fill the air with sweet, nutty aromas and the warmth of the hearth.
These orange, fleshy, vegetables are often referred to as sweet potatoes but they are actually yams. They are high in fiber and beta carotene as well as other vitamins and minerals. Because much of the nutritional value is in the skin, you can skip peeling and simply scrub and dry them, split them in half and bake with the goat cheese and dried cranberries-or slice them into rounds (like our friends at ciaoflorentina blog did) for this easily adaptable recipe for Meatless Monday. Our favorite pairing with this dish proved to be the bone dry Rose of Pinot Noir from McCall Vineyards. Dark fruit with the perfect balance of acidity and minerality.
2 sweet potatoes, large
5 oz local goat cheese from Catapano Dairy Farm (skip cheese for vegan recipe)
⅓ c candied walnuts or pecans
⅓ c dried fruit (cranberries, figs, dates or apricots)
2 tbsp balsamic reduction
1 tsp North Fork Sea Salt + more to taste
½ tsp smoked Spanish paprika (Pimenton)
4 tbsp olive oil + more as needed
2 tablespoons of thinly sliced kumquat or orange peel
3 tbsp local honey
Sprigs or leaves of your favorite fresh herbs
Preheat your oven to 500 degrees.
In a small bowl combine the olive oil, sea salt and paprika. Cut the sweet potatoes in half or into 1 inch thick rounds.Take each sweet potato half or round and coat it in the olive oil mixture all over. Place them on a large baking tray without touching each other and sprinkle with kumquat or orange peel and cover with foil or another cookie sheet.Bake for 20 minutes or until fork tender. Then top with goat cheese and place under broiler for another 5 minutes until cheese is melted. Transfer to a serving tray while still hot and top candied walnuts, and dried fruit. Spoon a little bit of wild honey on top of each potato round. Just before serving finish with a light drizzle of olive oil, balsamic glaze and garnish with the fresh herbs.
Serve with a salad of winter chicory such as endive, radicchio or escarole and a raspberry vinaigrette.