There used to be a time when I was not such a big fan of sweet potatoes. I think this has everything to do with that insipid sweet potato casserole topped with marshmallows. I am not cool with a big pile of gooey sweetness on my dinner plate and marshmallows should be relegated to desserts and campfires. I know I will offend people with that statement, but I just do not like that holiday tradition. I do, however, really like sweet potato fries, especially with a little cajun seasoning or smoked paprika. Those are very welcome on my dinner plate, so I’ve been trying to give the sweet potato a chance.
Since it’s summer and sweltering outside, I kept the oven off and grilled my potatoes instead of roasting them. The trick to grilling potatoes is to parboil them a little before they hit the grill. Otherwise, you get charred and raw potatoes. Not so tasty. By finishing the potatoes on the grill, they get nicely caramelized and lovely-looking grill lines. To balance some of the sweetness, I made a simple dressing of peanuts, lime juice and tahini. A little cilantro and crumbled cotija cheese are sprinkled on top for a smoky, sweet and salty side dish that’s just right with some chili-marinated chicken or steak. Who doesn’t love summer?
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch slices
1 tbsp. olive oil
juice of 1 lime
2 tsp. tahini
1/2 cup unsalted peanuts, chopped or halved
2 oz. cotija cheese (use feta or ricotta salata if you can’t find cotija)
3/4 cup cilantro leaves
Place the potatoes in a large skillet and add just enough water to cover them. Set over medium heat and allow the water to come to a slight simmer. Cook the potatoes for about 8 minutes, or until they are just fork-tender. Gently drain and set aside. You can do this up to a day in advance.
While your potatoes are cooking, make the dressing by whisking together the lime juice and tahini. Stir in the peanuts and set aside.
Preheat your grill to medium and brush the potatoes with olive oil on all side. Place the potatoes on the rack and grill for 3 – 4 minutes on each side, or until they develop grill lines and begin to caramelize on the outside. Remove to a plate.
Drizzle the dressing evenly over the potatoes. Top with the crumbled cotija cheese and cilantro leaves. Serve immediately.
Makes 4 side servings.