Thursday, April 16, 2009

Garnet Yams, the first, of three ways…

I have an ongoing love affair with the slightly sweet, dark orange, delicate, flesh of the garnet yam. Now I know that garnet yams can sometimes be a seasonal tuber and will hit markets around the fall and winter holiday season. However, I seem to have a knack for finding them so I am always playing around with their potential which in my opinion is endless. You could use sweet potatoes in any of these recipes with very similar results. These are three of my favorite ways to use this vitamin packed staple.

Garnet Yam and Balsamic Pasta Glaze

2 medium yams
1/4 c. crème fresh
12 oz. can tomato sauce
4-5 slices thick cut bacon
3-4 cloves of garlic
1 small onion
Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
Bunch of fresh basil
Dash of white balsamic vinegar *You could use the dark variety
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400º
1. Wash the yams and cut of the ends, puncture with a knife or fork a few times. Line a baking sheet with foil and bake in the hot oven for about 50 min. The sugars of the yams may bubble and caramelize so don’t be alarmed. If you are using large yams they may take a little longer, test the potatoes with a fork the same way you would white baked potatoes.
2. While the yams are baking fry the bacon and let it drain on some paper towels.
3. Remove the Yams a let cool, after slice them in half and scoop out the flesh into a food processor.
4. Chop the onion and garlic and sauté over medium heat in a drizzle of olive oil (or the tiniest bit of bacon fat) when the onion is beginning to caramelize add a dash of balsamic vinegar (I like to use the white variety because it does not interfere with the color of the yams) and give the bottom of the pan a good scrape down with a spoon to lift all the golden bits and flavor up.
5. Add tomato sauce and the crème fresh turn down heat to gently heat through season with salt and pepper.
6. Add the sauce to the yams in the food processor (you could also use a hand blender in a pot directly on the stove if you have one) and puree all the ingredients until thick and smooth.
7. Return to stove and heat on low heat continue to taste and season with salt and pepper (it should still be slightly sweet so don’t over do it on the salt)
8. Add roughly chopped basil and bits of bacon, you could also throw a little crumbled goat cheese on top.

Serve with fresh cheese ravioli, or a multigrain penne.

You could add a little chicken or other meat (I have used sweet Italian sausage) if you don't eat pork, you can also opt for the vegetarian option by using olive oil and lots of fresh feta or goat cheese. The sauce should be thick and really stick to your pasta enjoy!

More to come…

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