Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving Experiment

I wanted to be a traditionalist this Thanksgiving by including sweet potatoes on the menu. However, not having been raised on the ones mashed and topped with browned marshmallows, I have to admit I can't face that dish. Just too sweet. So, when I saw on Mark Bittman's site that he wraps spears of blanched sweet potato in a blanket of prosciutto and bakes it, I thought that more savory approach might just be the ticket.

Let's just say that I love the concept but not the reality. I think I must have skipped an important step or something. Our experience was that the potatoes had an unpleasantly mealy texture, the prosciutto became leathery and the sage, which has never been my favorite herb, should perhaps have been replaced with thyme. Another time, I'd parboil the sweet potato longer and I'd cook the wrapped spears for a shorter time. Oh, and I'd switch to thyme.

Still, they have promise and I might try tweaking this idea next time I'm feeling experimental.

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15 Comments:

Blogger namastenancy said...

Have you thought of simply making sweet potato fries? I slice them, sprinkle on a little oil, salt, pepper and chili flakes and bake them in the oven until crisp. They are delicious. I guess I never thought of pairing sweet potatoes with sage and probably wouldn't use that herb; in fact, I think their taste without all the "stuff" that we normally add on.

Sunday, November 28, 2010  
Blogger Greg said...

It sounds like a great combo. They do look sad.:(
Good on you for giving it a try.

Sunday, November 28, 2010  
Blogger cookiecrumb said...

We just bake em like a white potato, then cut them in half and drown them in butter. Good eating.

Bittman's heart is in the right place, but sometimes I think he makes up recipes without even testing them.

Sunday, November 28, 2010  
Blogger kudzu said...

I love sweets/yams almost any way anybody serves them, but I have to admit that on Turkey day I like to bake them, peel them, then mash them (not puree) with more than enough butter and a slug of bourbon. My father used to call them "boozy potatoes". If I have some handy, I will stir in some finely chopped pecans. It's a dish that is not too sweet -- you can still taste the flavor of the yams. Yum.

Sunday, November 28, 2010  
Blogger MissfixIT said...

You know, I'm not a pro, but I saw a blog where somebody was talking about not just blanching them, but cooking them in a water bath for like an hour and a half before roasting because it upped the sugar content. The extra moisture in the taters might keep the prosciutto from getting is dry too. It just sounds like such a good combo...I feel like it could work with a little love. I may even try it!

Sunday, November 28, 2010  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Nancy, I do like those, but they didn't seem very Thanksgiving-y, if you know what I mean.

Greg, I'll keep trying - it _should_ be tasty.

Cookiecrumb, I like them swimming in butter, too. Most of the things I've tried from Bittman have been good - this one just missed a little.

Kudzu, Bourbon, huh? That sounds interesting and a good use for a drink I'd seldom otherwise enjoy. I'm more of a Scotch drinker on those rare occasions when I imbibe.

MissfixIT, Bittman specifically cautions against cooking the spears for too long but I think you might be right. Let me know if you try them with success. You blog is super cool, BTW.

Sunday, November 28, 2010  
Blogger namastenancy said...

Well, I didn't make the fries and dip this year because of an unsettled tummy. But, in the past, to add a bit of sweet heat, I've mixed agave and chili and sour cream into a dip for the baked fries. There's a sweet-hot spicy chili sauce that I've used in the past. I saw it recently in the Asian Museum's cafe but I can't for the life of me remember the name. But it adds a nice zest to sweet potatoes and you don't have to drown them in brown sugar and marshmallows to get that sweet taste. I pretend that I'm simply honoring more ancient Thanksgiving traditions, the ones that predate casseroles topped with tons of gunk.
You can't beat a history major for creative reconstruction of the past. Well, maybe you can but let's not go there.

Sunday, November 28, 2010  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Nancy, you're not an art major??

Sunday, November 28, 2010  
Blogger namastenancy said...

I have studied art (SFAI, Berkeley among other places) AND have a degree in history and I'm working toward that elusive MFA in art history but - given the cut back in education and my inability to get into classes - that's a long LONG term goal.

Monday, November 29, 2010  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Nancy, I see. A regular egghead, huh? No wonder you're so smart.

Monday, November 29, 2010  
Blogger Ms Brown Mouse said...

browned marshmallows ??? On a vegetable????? Really?
Wow, I thought that was a joke folk had about American food (or have I just fallen for it)
This, though, this I would eat, yumm.

Monday, November 29, 2010  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Ms Mouse, totally not kidding. Many, many American households cherish the browned marshmallow topping on sweet potatoes, believe it or not.

Monday, November 29, 2010  
Blogger namastenancy said...

Smart? Well, I think of myself as too soon old and too late sort-of-smart but thanks for the compliment. If I hadn't gotten the journalist art review job at the Examiner.com, I'd probably be a professional student - or hanger on around colleges.
I'm not sure that makes me smart though. Just a bookworm.

Monday, November 29, 2010  
Blogger Janie said...

Something can be "too sweet"?

Monday, November 29, 2010  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Nancy, aw, c'mon, you know you're smart as a whip - you can't fool me.

Janie, well, yes, I think it can. In my book, things can't ever be too rich (buttery), but they can be too sweet (sugary). :-)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010  

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