Mark Bittman is an author and journalist covering policy, agriculture, the environment, and cooking.
He was a New York Times Opinion columnist and the lead food writer for The Times Magazine. Mark’s core message is “that food has the power to make or break not only our personal health but that of the planet”.
This recipe showcases the sweet potato, typically thought of as a fall vegetable. The sweet potato’s peak season begins in late October and ends sometime in March. Eating foods grown locally and in season saves energy, which helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions. You can find out which vegetables are in season near you and look for them at your local farmers’ market, and help protect everyone’s food supply for tomorrow.
Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Red Pepper Vinaigrette
- 4 large sweet potatoes
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
- 1 medium red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and ¬ quartered
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon grated orange zest (optional)
- 1/2 cup sliced scallion
- 1/2 cup minced fresh mint or parsley leaves
- 1 or 2 fresh minced chiles (jalapeño, Thai, serrano, or habanero), or to taste
- 1/4 cup raisins (optional)
Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Peel the sweet potatoes and cut them into bite-sized pieces. Put them on a baking sheet, drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the oil, and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast, turning occasionally, until crisp and brown outside and just tender inside, about 30 minutes. Remove and keep on the pan until ready to dress.
Make the dressing while the potatoes cook. Put the remaining 6 tablespoons oil in a blender, along with the vinegar, bell pepper, cumin, and zest if you’re using it. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Purée until smooth.
Toss the warm potatoes with the scallion, mint, chiles, and raisins if you’re using them. Add 1/2 cup of the dressing and toss to coat, adding more if necessary. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve immediately or at room temperature.
The red pepper dressing is tart, sweet, and spicy, with a touch of cumin. This is best served warm or at room temperature, though of course you can refrigerate and serve it up to a day later, as long as you take it out of the refrigerator beforehand to take the chill off.
Makes: 4 servings
Time: About 45 minutes