Monday, 21 March 2011

Celebrating the Vernal equinox

The weather has been getting slightly better... From -5°C we've moved to almost +10°C! Youhou! If it's not summer yet we're at least on the right track. To celebrate spring today, here is a great recipe that would be perfect to bring to a picnic or a barbecue, when the nice days are back.

I have already mentioned my love for sweet potato here, and this time again the recipe is really a hit. The roasting of onions and potatoes gives them a more hearty, smokier flavour than if you were instead to boil the sweet potatoes. Roasting actually gives the potatoes a tougher exterior so they keep their shape better when you mix all the ingredients. The crunchiness of the fresh salad and vegetable contrasts perfectly with the smoothness of the potatoes, plus the sour lemony taste of the dressing goes so well with the sweetness of the beans. Enjoy!

Roasted sweet potato and bean salad
Adapted from Mark Bittman, NYTimes
Serves 4. Takes about 45 minutes

4 medium sweet potatoes (about 1/2 kilo) peeled and cut into 2.5 cm chuncks
1 large red onion
4 tbsp olive oil (divided)
Salt and pepper
1 to 2 tsp fresh hot chili
1 clove garlic, peeled
Juice of 2 limes
2 cups cooked white beans (works well with black beans too, or any type of beans I am tempted to say)
1 red or yellow bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
1 cup heirloom tomatoes
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
1 cups roquette (arugula) salad

1. Heat oven to 200 degrees. Put sweet potatoes and onions on a large baking sheet, drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil, toss to coat and spread out in a single layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast, turning occasionally, until potatoes begin to brown on corners and are just tender inside, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from oven; keep on pan until ready to mix with dressing.

2. Put chilies in a blender or mini food processor along with garlic, lime juice, remaining olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Process until blended.

3. Put warm vegetables in a large bowl with beans, bell pepper, tomatoes and roquette salad; toss with dressing and cilantro. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve warm or at room temperature, or refrigerate for up to a day.

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