Grilled Sweet Potato Salad
With a cold rain currently falling outside and 4 previous days of high temperatures below 80 degrees, it's time to face facts, fall is upon us. Although the summer harvest is still kicking for a couple more weeks, I think it's about time we settle into reality and look to the months ahead. Possibly the most exciting part of this change for me, aside from the upcoming election (yes, it is possible to stare at an election map for three hours straight), is the sweet potato's return to my regular diet.
I've always loved the sweet potato, but last winter we became more than just friends. I stopped just grabbing sweet potatoes as a simple side and started planning meals around what would compliment them best. The baked wedges were my preparation of choice, but with pleasant whether still around, I thought it'd be fitting to take them to the grill.
There's an inherent problem with potatoes and the grill though, usually you can't cook a potato to doneness before it's completely charred on the outside. To get around this problem, I simmered these sweet potatoes in water until just tender all the way through. Since the final cooking will happen on the grill, it was important to cook these until a paring knife went slid in with a little resistance; if they were too soft they would just be mush and if they were too hard they couldn't be grilled completely without burning.
When the potatoes were just right, I removed them from the water, let cool, peeled, and sliced into 1/2 inch rounds. This was perfect size for the potatoes to crisp and finish cooking on the grill. Then came a brush of oil mixed with cumin and salt and they were ready to take to the flames.
Over the high heat, these didn't take long to finish up, just about 3 minutes per side. During this time, the outsides browned and slightly crisped nicely, and the insides cooked to the creamy texture I love.
Off the grill, I drizzled the sweet potatoes with more of the cumin oil mixed with lime juice. Then garnished with cilantro and scallions, they were a beautiful site. It's obvious by now that I'm a biased sweet potato critic, but hopefully you can take my word on it that these also tasted extraordinary. The fresh cilantro and lime complimented the sweet earthiness of the potato and brought a harmonious world of flavors together in my mouth. Each slice of this salad reignited my love affair with the sweet potato and has made fall a most welcomed visitor.
Grilled Sweet Potato Salad
- Yield 6 servings
- Prep 10 Minutes
- Cook 20 Minutes
- Total 30 Minutes
- 2 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, scrubbed
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 scallion
- 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
- Lime wedges
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
- In a large saucepan cover potatoes with salted cold water by 1 inch and simmer, covered, until a paring knife inserted into the potato comes out with some resistance, about 15 to 30 minutes, depending on size of potatoes.
- Light 1 chimney full of charcoal. While the charcoal is lighting and potatoes are boiling, whisk together oil, salt, and cumin in a small bowl.
- In a colander drain potatoes and rinse under cold water to cool. With a sharp knife peel potatoes and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Brush oil mixture onto both sides of potato slices, reserving remaining cumin oil.
- Grill slices on an oiled grate directly over the hot coals until golden brown, about 1-3 minutes on each side, and transfer with tongs to a platter.
- Thinly slice scallion diagonally and sprinkle over potatoes. Whisk lime juice into remaining cumin oil with salt and pepper to taste and drizzle over potatoes. Serve potato salad with lime wedges and sprinkled with cilantro.
Adapted from Gourmet