Saturday, February 2, 2013

Okinawan Sweet Potatoes

This is Super Bowl weekend and my sister is preparing roast pork for dinner and asked me to bring the starch.  I am sure there will be plenty of nachos, chips and guacamole to snack on during the game.  With that in mind, I thought something wholesome perhaps.  She asked for something, “different” since she typically serves buttered noodles or potatoes with roasted pork. Then the ideal came to me as I walk in the produce section of a market in Flushing.  Okinawan Sweet Potatoes!
Hard to believe that something so…beige on the outside,
can be so beautiful and vibrant on the inside. 
Okinawan Sweet Potatoes are plentiful in Asian markets this time of year. These tubers are actually native to the Americas and believed to have made its way to Japan after 1492.   The Japanese people quickly embraced the Okinawan sweet potato where it is found in tempura, purees and some pastries.
The radiant purple hue is not without its health benefits.  Like most fruits/vegetables high in the purple-blue pigment, Okinawan Sweet Potatoes are rich in a flavonoid know as anthocyanin. Like blueberries, red cabbage and eggplant the Okinawan Sweet Potato is a powerful antioxidant that’s been shown to have positive affects on brain health and Alzheimer’s. It is also high in fiber and vitamin C. 

So, I decided to roast my Okinawan Sweet Potatoes making it easier to serve on a buffet.  The hint of citrus helps bring out the flavor of the potato and the ginger is a nice complement.

Okinawan Sweet Potatoes

3# Okinawan sweet potatoes
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped ginger
½ teaspoon salt
Orange zest (optional garnish)

Preheat oven to 350F
 Peel potatoes
Cut by hand or with a mandolin ¼ inch thick
Place in a large bowl; add olive oil, juices, ginger and salt. 
Toss until potatoes are well coated. 
Place on a cooling rack in a sheet pan.
Bake for 45 minutes or until potatoes are soft inside
Remove from oven allow to cool 

Garnish with orange zest if desired.

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