I have recently put my three roommates in grave danger all in the name of a perfectly roasted sweet potato wedge. After going 8 months without a smoke detector our pesky management company had one installed. Now if you’ve ever used your oven in an apartment chances are you’ve set off your smoke detector. And chances are there wasn’t really any danger. The real danger comes when you’re peacefully chopping parsley and the smoke detector starts blaring deafening warning rings and you are so startled that you slip and fall and cut yourself meanwhile cursing and flailing while trying to turn the damn thing off. Our newly-minted smoke detector is particularly sensitive to heat so whenever the oven is on past 350, she makes a scene.
My sweet potatoes were happily roasting away at 450 and all of sudden the smoke detector starts screaming at me. Ours is a particularly deadly combination of high pitched bleeps and a robot voice that says “fire” over and over. So, I did the usual. Immediately startled, I stubbed my toe on our kitchen island, then grabbed a magazine to try and fan the heat away, then grabbed a broom to punch the off button. None of this really worked so I grabbed a step ladder and ripped the damn thing off the ceiling. It’s now happily and quietly wrapped in a t-shirt under my bed.
Needless to say if you have a nice hot oven, this recipe is a synch. It’s bright and fresh and looks damn good on the plate. The crispy roasted sweet potatoes and fresh figs go so well together. If you don’t like figs or just can’t find them, feel free to leave them out entirely. The sweet potatoes and scallion with a balsamic glaze will do JUST fine on their own. This dish will literally go with anything! The balsamic glaze is just sweet enough. I’d recommend serving it with lamb burgers or as part of a vegetarian feast.
I’ve adapted this recipe from Yotam Ottelenghi’s wonderful cookbook, Jerusalem, which you should immediately purchase. Every SINGLE recipe in the 320 page book is one I want to try. So far I’ve done the Shakshuka, the chickpea salad, the humus and the roasted eggplant.
Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Figs
Adapted from Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem
You will need:
3 large sweet potatoes
2 Tablespoons + 3 Tablespoons olive oil
5 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup chopped scallions (green onions in thin 2-inch pieces)
1 Tablespoon finely chopped fresh chili (I used a habenero) *optional
6 ripe figs
sea salt and black pepper
1. Preheat your oven to 450. Cut the sweet potatoes into large wedges and toss in a bowl with salt, pepper and 2 Tablespoons olive oil.
2. Lay the potatoes skin side down on a baking sheet and cook for 25 minutes, using a spatula to turn them occasionally.
3. Make a balsamic glaze by combining the balsamic vinegar and sugar in a small pot over medium-high heat. Cook it for two minutes as it starts to bubble and then turn the heat down to a simmer and cook for 7-10 minutes until it thickens. Set aside off the flame. You might want to heat it up for a minute with a splash of water before serving to reconstitute.
4. Heat 3 Tablespoons of olive oil in a non-stick skillet and quickly fry the chili and green onions. The onions should get barely crispy in about 3 minutes. Arrange the potatoes and figs on a plate and pour the onions, chilies and leftover olive oil on top. Drizzle the balsamic glaze on top and serve right away.
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