We don’t often consider sweet potatoes to be a vegetable to eat raw. During our projects with Louisiana State University, we found several varieties we preferred uncooked, including Covington and Creamsicle. They are sweet, with a lower starch content and smooth cell structure. For inspiration, we looked to Southeast Asia, making the type of sweet, tangy, and umami-rich dressing you might find on a papaya salad. Serve this side dish alongside grilled fish or shrimp or rice noodles.
For the salad
2 small to medium sweet potatoes (1 to 2 inches in diameter), peeled
2 tablespoons (30 ml) honey
2 tablespoons (30 ml) cane syrup or more honey
2 tablespoons (30 ml) fish sauce
Zest of 1 lime plus
1½ tablespoons (22 ml) fresh lime juice
½ teaspoon salt
20 small mint leaves
¼ cup (30 g) peanuts, toasted and cracked or roughly chopped
Mint leaves, mint flowers, and young sweet potato leaves
For the salad: Scrub the sweet potato to round out the edges and imperfections. Using a mandoline slice or other slicer, shave your sweet potatoes into rounds as thin as you can, cutting them directly over a bowl of cool water. Agitate the water to remove excess starch, and let the potatoes soak for about 30 minutes.
In a large bowl, whisk together the honey, cane syrup, fish sauce, lime zest and juice, and salad. Add the mint and stir to incorporate.
Drain the sweet potatoes and pat dry. Add them to the dressing and toss, being sure to coat them as evenly as possible. Let stand for 5 minutes.
For serving: Arrange the sweet potatoes on four salad plates. Spoon some additional dressing on top. Garnish with the peanuts and arrange the mint leaves, mint blooms, and sweet potato leaves on top. Serve at room temperature or chilled.
From The Chef's Garden: A Modern Guide to Common and Unusual Vegetables--with Recipes by Farmer Lee Jones; with Kristin Donnelly, to be published on 4/27/2021 by Avery, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC. Copyright © 2021 by The Chef’s Garden, Inc.
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