By Shane O’Brien – Culinary Consultant
During this threshold of a month, we begin the transition from supple Sungold tomatoes and chilled spicy “Aguachile” ceviches to warm and comforting “Tur-duck-ens” and confit tubers. We are now headed full-steam ahead toward dishes that belong in the “stretchy pants” season.
While many a waistline will undoubtedly fall victim to the decadence to come during the holiday season, operators would be wise to take note of the changing landscape and the many delicious trends and seasonal ingredients on the holiday horizon.
Ubiquitous as it may be, sweet potatoes can be dangerously delicious in the right hands. Originating in South America, between the Yucatan Peninsula and Venezuela, the sweet potato is actually a distant cousin to the common potato.
We’ve found success with exploiting the earthy sweetness by adding roasted banana to your favorite sweet potato puree recipe.
Additionally, salty and briny flavors compliment sweet potato well.
Try this “Mediterranean Empanada” as an example.
2 lbs sweet potatoes, washed, cut in half, wrapped in foil
6 oz Queso Oaxaca, (stringy Mexican Cheese), cut in ½” cubes
3 oz feta cheese, crumbled
2 sprigs dill, diced finely
2 pinches pried mint
1 tsp Za’atar
Salt and pepper to taste
6-8” circular empanada shells, raw
1 egg beaten
Splash of water
Oil for frying
- Preheat oven to 350f.
- Bake wrapped sweet potato for about 1 hour or until fork-tender. Remove from foil and take out potato skin, reserving only cooked flesh. Allow it to cool.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine dill, mint, feta, mint, and Za’atar, fold together to mix evenly.
- Fold the cooked potato into herb and cheese mixture, stirring to combine evenly. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
- Whisk together eggs and a splash of water.
- Layout empanada shells and brush the outer edge with egg wash.
- Scoop 2 tbsp of potato and cheese mixture into the middle of the empanada shell, making sure not to overfill.
- Fold over the shell to close, crimp edges with the back of a fork to seal.
- Preheat oil in a large Rondeau or deep fryer to 350F. Fry empanadas for 4-5 mins or until golden brown. Drain well, and enjoy with pickled turnips or spicy cilantro puree.
Loved this post? Check our Fall Flavors article for more.