Now that the guests are gone, the kitchen cleaned, and the dishes done I want to share with you one of the recipes I featured at my dinner party thrown for the third round of the Project Food Blog contest. As a friendly reminder, voting is open through Thursday so if you like my entry and have a moment, I’d appreciate your vote here.
The first dish I want to share with you is for Cardamom-Kissed Sweet Potatoes. In thinking about this dish, I was actually inspired by a quote in the October issue of Food & Wine. It’s the wine issue, so that’s what the quote is actually about, but if you bear with me I promise it relates back to these sweet potatoes.
Hugh Acheson, a chef and restauranteur said, “When I first got into wine, I really liked Shiraz from Australia. I’m not saying that Shiraz isn’t great, but it’s a blanket over food, covering it all up. Back then if I had tasted a Charmes Chambertin, the wine’s subtlety probably would have been lost on me. But now, I get why people go crazy over wines like that.
This quote spoke to me because traditionally I’ve been a girl that loves big, larger than life flavors. Ask me what kind of cheese I like and I’ll often say the riper and stinker the better. Yet lately I find myself having a change of palate so to speak. I find myself more and more smitten by nuance. Maybe it was a particularly fantastic dinner I had at The Girl and the Goat, which featured a chilled yellow tomato-vanilla bean soup, the vanilla bean so soft it was practically a whisper (yet an incredibly well balanced whisper) against the acid of the tomatoes. Or maybe it’s just a sign that I’m getting older and more mature. Whatever it is, I’m realizing there is definitely a place for more delicate flavors at my table.
And that’s where these sweet potatoes come in. At first bite they taste like your classic variety, buttery, creamy and sweet. And then at the end you get just the subtlest hint of cardamom. It sneaks up on you, providing that lingering end note. It’s amazing to me that something so intensely aromatic does such a fabulous job singing backup. It’s spiciness cuts through the richness of the potatoes and provides a nice balance. With Thanksgiving just around the corner I think this would also be great as a turkey day side dish, providing a fun spin on more traditional sweet potato dishes.
Adapted from Epicurious.com
-2 1/4 pounds sweet potatoes (about 5)
-1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
-1/2 cup whipping cream, warmed
-1/2 teaspoon cardamom
-1 pinch ground nutmeg
-Sea salt, to taste
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with heavy-duty foil. Place potatoes on baking sheets. Pierce potatoes with fork. Bake until very tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Let cool slightly.
Increase temperature to 350 degrees F. Peel warm potatoes and place in bowl of heavy-duty electric mixer. Beat potatoes until mashed. Add butter, cream, cardamom and nutmeg. Whip until smooth and creamy. Season with salt. Transfer potatoes to 13 x 9-inch oval baking dish. (This also can be done one day ahead, which I did for my dinner party. In this case, cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before continuing.) Bake potatoes until heated through and beginning to brown on top, about 45 minutes.