If you live in this part of the country and you belong to a CSA (or you get your food locally through some other means), then you probably have a sweet potato in your larder right now. Or two. Or more. Actually, I wish I had an actual larder – it is one of the main difficulties of urban kitchen life, that fact that apartments do not have cool spots in which to store vegetables. Since they are not supposed to be stored in the fridge, my sweet potatoes are usually hanging out in bowls set around my kitchen. Yet a warm apartment is not an ideal environment either. So, it becomes an effort to consume them before bad things happen. I adore sweet potatoes; their earthy taste, their mellow texture. But generally I find they are too sweet for my palette. The thought of making dishes that add additional sweetness to sweet potatoes (read: sugar, maple syrup, marshmallows) are anathema to me. Instead, I prefer to counter the sweetness with various savory tastes as a counter balance – sharp, salty, oniony, verdant, creamy, umami. Such were my thoughts when I threw together a combination of ingredients I had on hand with the idea of making something fritter-like, along the lines of potato pancakes.
There was a baked sweet potato that had been forgotten from the day before and I mashed it, along with a long list of things that popped into my head: sauteed onion and mushrooms, chopped parsley, a beaten duck egg, a sprinkle or two of grated parmesan. The fritter idea didn’t quite work out – the mixture was too loose and it would have needed some bread crumbs or something else to give it enough body to hold together. Instead, I treated it as a hash – or a mash – and cooked it quickly, just long enough to cook the egg, before plating it. Next time I think I’d cook the onions a bit longer before adding the mushrooms – they were translucent and a little crunchy, but they would’ve been even nicer if they were browned and a little caramelized. Naturally, the quantities here are variable, as are the types of vegetables used – many others could be substituted for those that I used. This recipe is a great way to use up leftovers, using whatever vegetables happen to be in the fridge.
This makes a nice little dish for breakfast, brunch or lunch. I think it would be good accompanied by any of the following flavors: something green and astringent (such as the kale salad I made today); something crispy (thinly sliced tart apples or pears); something fruity and acidic (citrus salad); something sagey and meaty (turkey sausage). It would also be a great side with a meat dish – a roasted bird perhaps, or maybe pork or lamb – those last two being things I don’t eat myself, but that I imagine might like this dish as a side kick. If you try it, let me know any other ideas you have for this dish!
Savory Sweet Potato Mash – 2 servings (multiply ingredients for additional servings)
。1 Tablespoon + 1 Tablespoon olive oil
。1 medium yellow onion, chopped
。5 medium white button mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
。1 large sweet potato, cooked, cooled and peeled (baked or steamed)
。1 duck egg (or 2 medium chicken eggs), room temperature, lightly beaten
。handful of fresh parsley, chopped
。4 Tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
。salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Heat 1 Tablespoon oil in frying pan and add onion. Cook 3-4 minutes on high heat until it turns translucent and starts to turn golden. Push onions to side of pan and add mushrooms. Cook until wilted and starting to give off moisture, about 3 minutes. Remove pan from heat. Place sweet potato in a large bowl and mash. Add next five ingredients and reserved onions and mushrooms from pan and mix to combine. Heat remaining 1 T. oil in fry pan and add sweet potato mixture. Cook on medium heat for 1 minute, then using a spatula, flip the mash in sections to cook the other side. Continue cooking unti it has lost its sheen and is beginning to brown in spots, then remove from heat and serve. Eat.