I love to cook, but often fall into the trap of making the same dish often. I rely on cookbooks and recipes to execute more complex dishes and flavors for when I have a little extra time. One of my favorite go-to’s for recipes is www.epicurious.com. This site has recipes for all types of cuisine and the rating system has never let me down. If a recipe gets three or four forks and 75% or more of the respondents would make it again, I know I can trust the results. I have learned quite a few hacks and modifications from the reviewers, who are knowledgeable and innovative.
One of the best dishes I found on Epicurious was actually reprinted from Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi’s cookbook Jerusalem, for roasted sweet potatoes and figs with a balsamic reduction. It’s easy and just plain amazing! It mixes ingredients and flavors that I never would have thought to combine. You won’t believe how good it is.
The only problem is that unlike in Jerusalem, where figs grow in abundance in people’s gardens, this fruit is more of an intermittent seasonal delicacy in Brooklyn. Recently, I decided to try this dish with Fruit Bliss dried figs and it worked out great. The only modification I make is with the red chili. I love the dish’s spiciness, but when I make it for my daughter I either omit it or only use just a pinch – she’s not quite ready for the heat. And if you don’t eat cheese or have it on hand – it’s no matter. The dish still works great so you vegans can enjoy it as well. This dish is simple but truly flavorful!
· 4 sweet potatoes
· 5 tablespoons olive oil
· 3 tablespoons commercial grade balsamic vinegar
· 1 1/2 tablespoons superfine sugar
· 12 scallions, halved lengthwise and cut into 1 1/2-in segments
· 1 red chili, thinly sliced
· 6 ripe figs or Fruit Bliss figs quartered
· 5 ounces soft goat's milk cheese (optional)
· Maldon sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees.
2. Wash the sweet potatoes and cut them into six long wedges. Mix with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, 2 teaspoons salt, and some black pepper. Spread the wedges out, skin side down, on a baking sheet and cook for about 25 minutes, until soft but not mushy. Remove from the oven and leave to cool down.
3. To make the balsamic reduction, place the balsamic vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then decrease the heat and simmer for 2 to 4 minutes, until it thickens. Stir in a drop of water before serving if it becomes too thick to drizzle.
4. Arrange the sweet potatoes on a serving platter. Heat the remaining oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat and add the green onions and chili. Fry for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring often to make sure not to burn the chili. Spoon the oil, onions, and chili over the sweet potatoes. Dot the figs among the wedges and then drizzle over the balsamic reduction. Serve at room temperature. Crumble the cheese over the top, if using.