Sweet potatoes, I’ve been told, are chock full of nutrients. Plus, they taste good (I wasn’t told that — I already knew that). And thus when I saw that Rick Bayless had a recipe for “Sweet potato salad with caramelized onions, watercress, and guajillo chile dressing” in Mexican Everyday, I figured I might as well try it out. And that’s exactly what I did.
Pics of this latest culinary adventure after the jump…
Inevitably, we begin with sweet potatoes.
A hefty dose of olive oil enters the picture. It looks like a lot, but remember we have three potatoes to deal with. And some cress forthcoming. Never forget the cress.
A little garlic and two dried guajillo chiles. The latter had been sitting around in my pantry for about three years. Their time, I’m proud to say, has come.
There’s that oil again, heating up on my CLEAN stovetop.
The garlic and chiles enter their oil bath for a scant 30 seconds or so. Just until fragrant, etc.
The aromatics are promptly transferred to my Magic Bullet where they shall be pureed to a pulp.
Oh woops. The garlic is supposed to stay in the hot oil off the heat. To perfume it, I suppose.
Well hello, white wine vinegar.
In a sterling display of man’s dominance over nature, I puree the chiles with the vinegar and some salt.
And here we are.
Take in the glory.
Meanwhile, I’ve chopped my sweet potatoes into a very uniform 1/2 inch dice. Well, semi-uniform.
Next, I do the same with a red onion. For the record, I think they should be called purple onions, but that’s just me.
Hey, remember the oil? Well, I’ve now poured the oil and the garlic into the Magic Bullet with the chili mixture. This leaves a thin slick of olive oil in the pan, which I heat up again.
There’s the oil in the Bullet.
Time to make a suspension.
Ladies and gentlemen, we now have a vinaigrette.
I then dump the red onions in the leftover oil and let them sauté and caramelize.
About ten minutes later, it all looks like this.
The beautifully chopped sweet potatoes go in next.
Also joining the fray is some salt and half a cup of the dressing.
I then mix it all together. It’s no easy endeavor. As you can see, one piece of potato has escaped the pan while another seems ready to fly the coop.
I then cover the whole thing and wait ten or twelve minutes.
Ta-da! The sweet potato is now tender and ready for consumption.
Onto a bed of cress it goes with a drizzle of vinaigrette.
Very good! This is a solid recipe that yields QUITE a lot, perfect for entertaining, potlucks, or just a veggie that lasts the week. The sweetness of the potatoes and caramelized onions is nicely offset by the sour, savory dressing. And the cress serves as a great backdrop to it all. I will say that this salad does err on the oily side, but I found the more cress involved, the less oily it feels. The whole thing is easy enough to throw together, and as an added bonus, it’s fairly beautiful. Make it!