I’m a sweet potato weirdo.
Oh my guhness, I do not like sweet potatoes with marshmallows and brown sugar and maple syrup.
But please don’t send your burly cousins to work me over until I admit that I love-love-love your Nana’s Secret Sweet Dreams Tater and Honey Pillows recipe. Because I’m a super chicken, and I’ll sing it to the stars, the wonders of sweet potatoes drowned in gloppy, sweet toppings, before the first fist ever flies.
But in my heart, I’ll always want my sweet potatoes served just the same as their savory co-horts, the russets and Yukons and Baby Reds: with lots and lots of spicy, herby, salty flavors.
Many, many years ago, a friend of mine introduced me to sweet potato fries and saved me from a decades-long boycott of the beautiful orange tuber. I had simply never stopped to consider that sweet potatoes don’t actually grow with marshmallows attached to their hips.
IOW: marshmallows, optional.
It was a revelation and a cure for a childhood food aversion.
Now, I not only grow them myself, but I also prepare them in all sorts of savory ways: baked chips topped with salt and rosemary, stacked and spritzed with smoked paprika. And smashed, with curry sauce and deeply caramelized onions.
Why smashing? Rendered flat and thin, the outsides crisp up beautifully in the pan while retaining tender innards. Plus, the schmooshing creates grooves for curry sauce to hide in. And the more curry sauce the better, is my philosophy.
My only problem with this recipe is the onion jam. It’s difficult enough to leave onion jam alone in the pan without stealing bites at frequent intervals via a small, inconspicuously palmed fork. But with curry sauce? Och, it’s hopeless. Outright grazing is called for.
This is a two-serving recipe and barely one serving survived to the plate above to be photographed. You’ve been duly warned.
Smashed Sweet Potatoes with Curried Onion Jam
inspired by whiteonricecouple.com
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Yield: 2 servings as an entree, 4 servings as a side
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided usage (plus extra, as needed)
2 large onions (yellow cooking or sweet), thinly sliced into half or quarter moons
2 sweet potatoes, scrubbed, skin on, sliced 1/4” thick
1 cup coconut milk
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon fish sauce (or substitute soy sauce)
1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, minced
1. For the onion jam: heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onions and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until glassy. Reduce heat to medium-low. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until a deep golden brown. This could take 30-40 minutes — don’t rush it. If onions stick to the pan, add a small amount of water to loosen.
2. For the curry sauce: heat the coconut milk, curry powder, fish sauce, honey and chili garlic sauce in a small sauce pan over medium-high heat. When the mixture begins to boil, turn heat down to medium-low and simmer until reduced and thick, about 20 minutes. Turn to low or warm.
3. Meanwhile, heat remaining oil in another large skillet over medium until shimmering. Add the potatoes in a single layer (you might have to cook them in batches) and cook until golden on one side, about 7 minutes. Turn the slices over and cook on the remaining side until golden, 7 minutes more. Remove to a cutting board. Add more oil to the skillet, if necessary, and add the remaining potato slices in a single layer.
4. Using a large-tined fork, gently schmoosh the potatoes slices on the cutting board. You want to leave the slices intact, just indented. Sprinkle lightly with salt.
5. When the second batch of potatoes is finished, remove them to the cutting board, and return the first batch to the pan, smashed sides down. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes then move to a plate. Repeat with 2nd batch.
6. When the onions are deeply golden, thick and soft and jammy, add 2 tablespoons of the curry sauce and stir well. Spread the onions on a plate. Layer the potatoes over the onion jam, drizzle the remaining curry sauce and sprinkle the cilantro on top.