Sweet Potatoes Topped with Pecans, Goat Cheese and Japanese Turnips
I was obsessed with this recipe a number of years ago when Arianna first adapted it from Smitten Kitchen. The original recipe called for celery, but since we don’t have celery locally, she substituted Japanese Turnips. It was delicious and I resurrect it every year.
Here’s the original recipe from Smitten Kitchen, which has beautiful photos and a good story, as opposed to my version, with no story, mediocre pics, and lots of options for adaptation.
2 lbs. sweet potatoes
4-5 T. olive oil, divided
1/2 lb. Japanese Turnips, or several stalks from bok choy or vitamin greens, chopped very fine
1T. minced onion or shallot
1-2 T. chopped dried fruit (cranberries, raisins, cherries or apricot)
1/4 c. crumbled feta, firm chevre, or other firmer cheese, chopped very fine
1/c. toasted pecans, chopped
2T. red wine vinegar
1/2-1 t. good mustard
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper (or lemon pepper)
Preheat the oven to 450F. Scrub the sweet potatoes and slice them, unpeeled, into 1-inch rounds. Generously oil a large baking sheet or jelly roll pan with 3-4 T. of the olive oil. Place the sweet potato disks in a single layer along the bottom. Salt and pepper them and roast for about 20 minutes. You want the bottoms to be dark and slightly puffed. When they are, turn each potato over and sprinkle the other side with salt and pepper before returning to the oven. Roast for another 10-20 minutes, until both sides are equally browned and caramelized.
While the potatoes are cooking, assemble your salad. Whisk together the vinegar and mustard with a tablespoon or two of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Combine turnips, onion, dried fruit, cheese*, and pecans. *If using a soft cheese, don’t add it to the salad, just crumble over the top when serving. Toss with dressing.
The sweet potatoes in the above photo were actually a Japanese variety that had white flesh, so they don’t look so dark.
To serve, place a few rounds on each plate and top with a bit of turnip salad. If you didn’t add your cheese into the salad, don’t forget to crumble it over each round. Leftover turnip mixture is delicious wrapped in a bok choy leaf or served over a green salad.
In this particular photo, we served our sweet potato disks alongside swiss chard and shiitake mushrooms sauteed with garlic.