Monday, November 3, 2008

Not just for eating with mini marshmallows

I am referring, of course, to sweet potatoes. This tasty vegetable is good so many other ways, and now that I have a lot of them floating around the flat (they are in LOTS of baby food recipes), I'm always trying to figure out ways to use up the leftover ones.

I kept thinking about something I am pretty sure I once saw on a restaurant menu - sweet potato and goat's cheese quesadillas. I tried to find a recipe online, but didn't come up with much. That idea and this recipe inspired this dish, which, although it is most certainly NOT conventional Mexican or Tex-Mex cooking, is spicy and tasty and a great easy weeknight meal.

Is there any science in this? Well, not really. But I will explain why I chose to use grated sweet potatoes instead of boiled and mashed, as in this recipe. Basically, it was down to a texture thing. When you boil potatoes they get very mushy and sticky, and although I LOVE mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes, having a paste spread over my quesadilla just didn't seem right. Grating the potato and letting it steam with the onion, jalapeno and spices not only gives a firmer texture but also allows the flavors to blend together in the pan.

Sweet potato quesadillas
1 T olive oil

1/2 a small yellow onion, chopped (about 1/2 c)

1-2 jalapenos, chopped

2 medium-sized sweet potatoes (about 1 lb total weight), peeled and grated

salt and pepper to taste

chili powder to taste (1/8-1/4 tsp)

2 green onions, chopped

About 3 oz soft mild goat's cheese (chevre), sliced or crumbled

2 large or 4 small flour tortillas

sour cream (or
salsa (I used regular tomato salsa, but I think a salsa verde might have been really good)

Sautee the onion in the olive oil over medium heat for 3-4 minutes (use a non-stick pan that has a lid, and if you can one that can also accommodate your tortillas when folded in half). Add the jalapeno and sautee an additional minute. Then add the sweet potatos and sautee yet another minute. Cover the pan with a lid and let the potatoes steam for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally so they don't stick.

Cover half of each tortilla with the sweet potato mixture. Sprinkle with green onions and goat's cheese. Fold the tortillas in half and place in a frying pan over medium heat (for ease in cleaning up, I suggest just using the pan you cooked the sweet potatoes in). You really don't need to add any oil or cooking spray if you use a non-stick pan, but you can if you want. Cook until golden brown on each side (about 2 minutes per side), cut into wedges and serve with sour cream (yogurt) and salsa.

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