If you think sweet potatoes are only for Thanksgiving, think again.
This Easter, make sweet potatoes the centerpiece of your spring holiday with this easy, dramatic and mesmerizing dish: whole sweet potatoes buried in ash, and roasted until blackened on the outside, and sweet, smoky and luscious within. Forget the colored eggs; all eyes will be on this beauty when it comes to the table.
Spread the flesh on warm tortillas with a dollop of creamy chipotle sauce enlivened with fresh orange zest, because we all know just how wonderfully sweet potatoes marry with sweet citrus.
This simple, sublime dish will make you look at sweet potatoes in a whole different light. It’s sure to become a year-round indulgence, whenever it’s grilling weather outside. It’s even vegetarian and gluten-free, to boot.
After all, California’s envious climate allows for sweet potatoes to be available year-round, according to the California Sweetpotato Council. They are grown in the San Joaquin Valley’s naturally sandy loam, cured in the ground first, before being harvested and cured in sheds.
Four ounces of sweet potato have 105 calories, no cholesterol, and almost no fat. Sweet potatoes are also a good source of fiber and Vitamin C, plus contain more than a day’s recommended requirement of Vitamin A.
You can either cook the sweet potatoes wrapped in foil or not. The foil does offer a buffer, making the cooking time a little more forgiving if you forget and leave them in a little long. Without the foil, you have to keep a closer watch on the sweet potatoes to ensure they are removed precisely when they are tender, and not hard (under-cooked) or tough (overcooked).
This recipe was inspired by the signature sweet potato dish at the acclaimed Cala restaurant in San Francisco. There, the charred sweet potato is brought to the table with tortillas, sea salt, and bone marrow salsa negra. I simplified that sauce, by making one that blends full-fat Greek yogurt with lime, garlic and chipotles in adobo to play off the smokiness of the charred sweet potatoes.
You could also substitute purchased chipotle salsa or mole sauce, if you like. You could even top your sweet potato-slathered tortilla with a fried egg, too. But do exercise restraint with the extra toppings. After all, the sweet potato is the star of this dish. And it should rightfully get to take its bow.
Ash-Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Chipotle-Orange Sauce
For Chipotle-Orange Sauce:
1 cup full-fat Greek yogurt
2 chipotles in adobo, seeds removed, or to taste
1 clove garlic
Zest and juice of 1 lime
Zest of one orange
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
For Sweet Potatoes:
2 large orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, rinsed and gently scrubbed
Corn tortillas, warmed
To make the sauce: Combine all ingredients in a blender or mini food processor. Whiz until combined and creamy. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour to slightly thicken.
To cook the sweet potatoes: Remove the grate from a charcoal grill, and build a fire, adding enough briquettes or lump charcoal to form a bed that’s at least two inches deep. Allow them to burn down until they are well coated with ash, and your grill registers about 350 degrees.
Using fork tines, prick sweet potatoes all over. If using foil, wrap each sweet potato in a sheet of aluminum foil. Otherwise, leave sweet potatoes bare. Bury the sweet potatoes in the coals, covering them as much as possible. Place the lid on the grill.
Depending upon the size of the sweet potatoes, they will take about 1 hour to cook if wrapped in foil; or about 45 minutes if unwrapped. You will need to turn them half-way through the cooking process. A skewer or tip of a knife will slide into the center easily when the sweet potatoes are done. Carefully remove them from the charcoal to a serving board or platter.
Using a knife, cut a slit vertically down the center of each sweet potato. Use a spoon to scoop out the soft, creamy flesh, avoiding the charred exterior, which you don’t want to eat. Spread in the center of a warm tortilla, and dollop with chipotle-orange sauce and a sprinkle of sea salt. Fold up and enjoy.
— Recipe By Carolyn Jung