Now apart from my last post on the summer fresh and easy umami chickpea sandwiches, the bulk of 2015 has been written up as sweet posts, including Momofuku’s cinnamon brown butter bun pie, amarula spiked chocolate pudding pots and coconut brown butter cookies with the exception of my Valentine’s Day inspired heart shaped champagne and truffle risotto. Time to give you a more balanced approach to cooking! Today I have for you an absolute stunner – Sweet Potato salad with spring onion and goats cheese. This stunner has been adapted from Ottolenghi’s arsenal of glorious recipes. Now as you may recall, I’ve succeeded at emulating Ottolenghi’s sweet potato cakes, which I still fantasise and salivate over.
There’s enough potato in this significant salad to serve as a meal in itself for 4-5 people, or as a part of a larger gathering of food, for 8-10 people. But I would definitely size it down and serve it to myself for a gratifying and fire-crackingly flavourful lunch or dinner – nutritiously comprising of gluten and grain free carbs along with a handful of vegetables and sprinkling of protein. And my most important food group – spice!
The bulk of the work is done by the beautiful marriage of the ingredients – the perfectly golden baked sweet potatoes make a substantial base to the salad, and the softened and aromatic spring onions and birds eye chilli add exceptional flavour. Topped with crumbed goats cheese and a squeeze of balsamic glaze, makes this one hell of a salad! Edible flowers to crown the salad won’t hurt either, making the earthy and humble ingredients look a little sophisticated and pretty.
This salad combines all the flavours of happiness: the sweet creaminess of the potato, the earthiness of the sautéed green onion, the acidity and sharpness of the balsamic vinegar – and finally the savoury sprinkling of the goats cheese. Divinity. In its un-adultered version, the salad calls for fresh wedges of fig as well, but to be honest, we forgot to use it! So the second time, I added the figs on top, as stipulated.
I prefer the version without the figs!
I don’t know if it is because I am (instantly) too attached to the flavour that was created in the first rendition, but I just prefer it. Even texturally, I prefer the salad without the mushy grainy fig. Not that I don’t think it works well – its just a personal preference! So there you have it, my adaptation of the Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Spring Onion and Goats Cheese.
[My fingers are literally itching to make it again!]
This salad too was part of my Easter Sunday girls lunch (you’ll notice a nonchalant hot cross bun somewhere up the the pictures :)), which comprised of: mango salsa served with baked nacho chips, umami chickpea open face sandwiches, beet burger patties and SS’s new favourite spinach and avocado salad with a citrus honey mustard vinaigrette, followed up by miniature versions of my beautiful salted caramel and chocolate ganache almond shortcrust tart. A lovely Sunday spread, indeed.
- 4 small sweet potatoes (1 kg in total)
- 5 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbs balsamic glaze
- 12 spring onions, halved lengthwise and cut into 1 1/2-in / 4cm segments
- 2 red birds eye chillies, finely chopped
- 100 gm goat's cheese (preferably the crumbly variety)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 240°C.
- Wash the sweet potatoes, halve them lengthwise, and then cut each half again similarly into 3 long wedges. Toss with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, 2 teaspoons salt, and some black pepper. Spread the wedges out, skin side down, on a baking sheet and cook for about 25 minutes, until soft and slightly burnished - but not mushy. Remove from the oven and leave to cool down.
- Arrange the sweet potatoes on a serving platter. Heat the remaining oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat and add the green onions and chile. Fry for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring often to make sure not to burn the chile.
- Spoon the oil, onions, and chile over the sweet potatoes. Then drizzle over the balsamic reduction.
- Crumble the cheese over the top and decorate randomly with edible flowers.
- Serve at room temperature.
- If you don't have balsamic glaze at home, go buy some. Seriously! But in the god awful event you don't find any, you will need 40 ml balsamic vinegar (you can use a commercial rather than a premium aged grade) with 1 1/2 tbsp caster sugar.
- To make the balsamic reduction, place the balsamic vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then decrease the heat and simmer for 2 to 4 minutes, until it thickens. Be sure to remove the pan from the heat when the vinegar is still runnier than honey; it will continue to thicken as it cools. Stir in a drop of water before serving if it does become too thick to drizzle.