November 13, 2020
I have Thanksgiving anxiety and I’m not alone.
What will dinner look like this year??
One of the ideas currently being floated about by my family and countless others is a ‘pot-luck-special’: we will each make a dish and bring it to a designated porch and take home a share of all the available dishes. Truth be told, it’s a glorified take-out. Sigh.
My contribution might be this salad because it doesn’t need to be re-heated and would be delicious in the post-Thanksgiving-turkey-stuffing-cranberry-sauce-sandwiches. (I would put it right up next to the cranberry sauce.)
And It’s my effort to combat the ‘food-won’t-be-hot-at-the table’ blues.
3 pounds sweet potatoes
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, divided
Fresh ground pepper
Optional: 1/8 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
½ cup crumbled blue cheese
½ cup dried, sweetened cranberries
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons sherry or balsamic vinegar
¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
Optional garnish: 2-3 tablespoons toasted & lightly salted pistachios, finely chopped
Pre heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Peel the sweet potatoes, rinse and dry them. Dry vegetables are less likely to slip around on the cutting board as you are trying to cut/dice them.
The potatoes may or may not be equal sizes; that’s OK. Begin by cutting a potato in half through the middle. This will give you 2 pieces, each with a flat edge. Set a flat-edge down on the cutting board and slice each half into 1/2-inch slices. Next, cut the slices into ½-inch sticks (‘batons’-in French) and then cut or dice each stick into ½-inch cubes. Repeat with all the potatoes. Take your time, prepping vegetables is an art form….at Cordon Bleu Cooking School there were serious competitions to showcase mastery of these skills.
Put all the diced potatoes into a stainless bowl. You should have roughly 2 quarts of diced potatoes. Drizzle the vegetable oil over the potatoes, shaking the bowl to evenly coat all the potatoes with oil. Sprinkle the potatoes with 1 teaspoon kosher salt, along with 4 or 5 twists of the peppermill and the optional pumpkin pie spice and shake again to distribute.
Spread the potatoes out in a single layer on one or two sheet pans. (I used one professional ‘half-sheet pan, 12x17 inches.) Keep the bowl handy. No need to clean it.
Roast the potatoes for 30-35 minutes or until tender when pierced with the tip of a knife. Remove potatoes from oven and let cool without disturbing them for 5-10 minutes. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar over the still warm potatoes. Sprinkle with a pinch more kosher salt. Stir gently to combine. Don’t mash them! Transfer the cooked potatoes back to the bowl and add the crumbled blue cheese and the dried cranberries. Toss again to distribute the cheese and cranberries. The still-warm potatoes will soften the cheese a bit.
Make a quick vinaigrette. In a small bowl combine the 2 tablespoons of olive oil with 2 teaspoons of sherry or balsamic vinegar along with another pinch of kosher salt. Whisk vigorously with a fork and add to the bowl to coat the potatoes with this additional dressing. Add the chopped parsley and optional chopped pistachios. Taste and adjust seasoning to your taste.
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