Summer is (finally) upon us in Minneapolis. My family tends to eat fresher, healthier food during the summer, primarily because we are devoted non-wasters of our weekly CSA share and occasional farmer's market purchases, but also because it's hot and humid here once summer settles in, and that makes us want to eat more cold food. (Cold food (excepting ice cream, I suppose) is generally healthier than hot, don't you think?) So, while this means lots of salads and smoothies, it also means that even the warm foods we eat take on a different spin from June through September: they tend to be accompanied by chilled toppings, garnishes, dressings, whatever, once it's hot here. (And it is v. v. v. hot here.)
Case in point: these here jacket-style sweet potatoes. First they're baked (but in our microwave, which can be used as an oven for baking smaller items and doesn't end up heating our whole house in the process – I think a lot of ovens do this, check it out, it's super useful not only to keep your home cooler but also when you need to use two ovens at the same time). Then they are cut in half and left alone to cool a bit (not quite to room temperature but almost). Then they are topped with some peppery greens (either raw or slightly cooked because maybe when they're raw they're too peppery for you light weights – or me anyway). Then they are drowned in – er, drizzled with – a green buttermilk dressing (a super fresh, super herby, super creamy green buttermilk dressing that is). And they're finished with some freshly ground pepper and sea salt (a heavy dose of the latter if you are like us because, you know, salt brings out the flavor in things so bottoms up!).
I was inspired by a recipe from 101 Cookbooks when I concocted these summery bad boys, but I wouldn't call it an adaptation. As I read in the comment section of the King Arthur's Flour blog recently, when you pretty much change every aspect of a recipe, it's a new recipe. (And KAF, fyi, is at that point no longer liable for the results.) I figure I should give credit where due, however, and inspiration is credit-worthy for sure, especially when it results in something as tasty as these beautifully-dressed sweet potatoes.
Jacket Sweet Potatoes with Radish Greens and Avocado-Buttermilk Dressing
Yield: 4 servings
2 medium sweet potatoes (about 1.5-2 lbs total weight)
Greens from 1 large bunch of radishes (or other spicy green of choice, or, heck, spinach or chard, if that's what you have on hand), coarsely chopped
1/2 an avocado*
1 cup buttermilk*
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1 stalk green garlic (or one garlic clove)
1 tablespoon flax oil or olive oil (optional)
Coarse sea salt & freshly ground pepper for serving
Scrub sweet potatoes and poke holes all over with a fork. Place in oven-proof dish and bake in 400-degree oven for 45 minutes to an hour, until tender. Once cooked, halve them lengthwise and allow them to cool for about 15 minutes.
While the sweet potatoes are cooking, make the dressing. Place the avocado and all remaining ingredients in blender and mix on high until smooth.
If you'd like to cook your greens a bit, do so while the sweet potatoes are cooling. Rinse the greens but don't dry them. Using a skillet over medium heat, cook the greens for 1-2 minutes until just wilted (the water will steam them, but if you wanted to use a little oil, it wouldn't hurt).
Once potatoes are cooled, top each half with a quarter of the radish greens, drizzle each with about 2 tablespoons of dressing, and finish with salt and pepper.
* This makes a great sandwich spread too. Use a whole avocado and 1/2 cup buttermilk to make it thicker and more spreadable. Much better on a BLT than mayo. (But I hate mayo.)