For about 2/3 of my life, I thought that I didn’t like sweet potatoes. Why were they so sweet? And why was that sweetness right there on my plate, mixing with the savory Thanksgiving goodies I enjoyed far more? It turned out, the only times I had ever even tried sweet potatoes were in casseroles that always included globs of brown sugar and those evil little mini-marshmallows. Again, I reiterate, why were marshmallows on my plate next to my turkey and gravy?
I’m so glad that my mother-in-law doesn’t keep marshmallows around. The first time I had Thanksgiving dinner with my husband’s family, I was inclined to pass along the sweet potatoes, knowing that I wouldn’t like them. But, because I was a first time guest, I obviously wanted to be as polite as possible, so I gingerly spooned a few potatoes onto my plate…
But wait! This wasn’t mashed sweet potato mush! These were actual chunks of potatoes, just simply roasted. There was a pinch of cinnamon, some salt and pepper, and some pecans in the mix, too. But no marshmallows. No cloying sweetness. And you know what? I discovered that sweet potatoes deserved a second chance.
Ever since that fateful Thanksgiving, I’ve been making up for lost time with sweet potatoes. Here, I’ve made some griddled sweet potato cakes mixed with just a smidge of maple syrup and some spices for a nice balance of spicy and sweet. And, because Greek yogurt goes with pretty much everything, I flavored it up with some curry powder for dipping.
So – sweet potatoes, I’m sorry. I’m sorry I didn’t see your greatness beneath the marshmallows. I’m sorry I shunned you for 22 years. You’re beautiful, and you didn’t deserve the treatment I gave you. I’ll even take a Glamour Shot of you to try to make it up to you:
Update: On 10/24/13, this recipe was chosen as a Community Pick in Food52′s “Your Most Impressive Dinner Party Side” contest and professionally photographed by James Ransom:
For the Curried Greek Yogurt:
- 1 container (7 ounces) 2% Greek yogurt
- 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
For the Maple Sweet Potato Cakes:
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled and shredded
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 egg
- 1-1/2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1 pinch of cinnamon
- 1/3 cup minced yellow onion
- 1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
- Nonstick cooking spray
- Make Curried Greek Yogurt: In a small bowl, stir together all ingredients.
- Make Maple Sweet Potato Cakes: Place shredded potato in a large bowl and toss with salt. Let stand 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a second large bowl, whisk together egg, maple syrup, white pepper, paprika and cinnamon. Using your hands, squeeze all excess liquid out of potato; discard liquid. Add potato, onion and breadcrumbs to egg mixture; toss to combine well.
- Form potato mixture into 6 cakes (they should be about 3-1/2 inches in diameter and 1/2-inch thick). Heat a griddle or large nonstick pan over medium high-heat. Spray griddle with nonstick spray; place potato cakes on griddle. Cook 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown and crispy on the outside, flattening with spatula as they cook and flipping occasionally. Serve immediately with Curried Greek Yogurt.