Friday, September 4, 2009

Sweet Potato Salad

I never thought it could happen to me: my almost-one-year old son is a picky eater. The weird thing is as picky as he is, he is also quite the gourmand. He's not into baby food or "plain" food - he doesn't and never has eaten what he's "supposed" to eat. Take, for instance, that in his short little life he's begged for jambalaya, gobbled up veggie frittata, and loves nearly all mexican food. But if I put peaches (from my defunct peach cobbler) or (heaven forbid) carrots in front of him they're immediately thrown on the floor after one bite (which is also spit out). We grew out of pureed foods in one week and went right to quesadillas when he was only six months old. So in order to get this guy to eat healthy, if at all, I need to make those veggies flavorful and preferably, hidden.

Case Study 1: after he refused oven roasted sweet potato fries (um, YUM), I decided to try creating a sweet potato salad with those fries. I searched for a recipe on-line but didn't have all the ingredients to make any that I found so... I improvised. I roasted a red pepper on an open flame, finely minced some shallots, and whipped up a tangy mustard dressing to bring it all together, served room temp and topped with fresh parsley and parmesan. And surprise, it was a hit with both my boys.

Sweet Potato Salad

3 peeled, chopped sweet potatoes
1 red bell pepper
1 T minced shallot
2 T champagne vinegar (or any other vinegar, but this is a lighter, sweeter vinegar)
1 T grainy or Dijon mustard
2 T good quality extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
Parmesan or Romano cheese
Fresh Parsley
(*note, all measurements are approximates as I didn't use any measuring utensils - season to taste!)


Preheat over to 425 degrees or start the grill. Toss sweet potatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper - layer on a baking sheet for roasting or, alternatively, lay directly on grill. Roast until tender, about 25 minutes. While potatoes are cooking, place red pepper over an open flame - either on the grill or stove top - and roast until skin is blackened, turning frequently. Once pepper is sufficiently roasted, place in bowl and immediately cover with plastic wrap. Let sit for 10-15 minutes - this will steam the pepper, making it easier to peel off the skin - and gently peel. Once peeled, deseed the pepper and chop. Add to medium sized bowl, along with potatoes. Whisk together shallot, vinegar, and mustard - slowly add olive oil while briskly whisking to create an emulsion. Add salt and pepper to taste. Gently toss dressing with potatoes and peppers. Top with shredded Parmesan and chopped parsley. If you can hold off, let it sit at room temperature for while so the flavors can meld. But if you can't resist and must eat it immediately then... Enjoy!

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