This post almost turned into a monster-sized post—almost. My husband suggested that I reign it back in. He's good like that; he's the voice of reason. He keeps me in check when my food fantasies run slightly amuck, and I want to add way too many things, too many little “options” and tid-bits into one lil' post. What can I say? My heart's in the right place. Anyway, I had originally intended to offer two different potato dishes so there would be a couple of options for anyone wanting to go the route of a traditional mashed potato-style dish as well as the sweet potato route, but the traditional (though kicked-up, but of course) will just have to wait to see the light of day a little later on down the road; don't worry, I'll post it soon enough. But for now, if you're looking for a more traditional mashed potato recipe, hit this link and you'll be whisked away to traditional mashed potato land; otherwise, keep on reading here if you're looking to go the sweet route, with a twist.
There's just something so very tempting about sweet potatoes; they have a rich, silky creaminess unlike any other veg that I know. You can pretty much go either the sweet route with them, or the savory, or even a combination of both, which I personally l-o-v-e. They're gorgeous. Their fiery-orange flesh provides a blazing splash to the holiday table, and depending on how they're prepared and what you add into them, you can have a real show-stopper as a much beloved side. Sure, there's the traditional route that calls for marshmallows as the topper, which of course is a favorite must-have for many T-Day gatherers; but for me, I love whipping together the sweet and the salty, the creamy and the crispy and crunchy, and bringing to the table a whole new way of showcasing the lovely sweet potato: roasted sweet potato brulee with crispy prosciutto, crunchy pecans and a touch of maple. Did I just say that? Oh, I surely did. The combination of flavors in this particular mash-up is something to cry tears of joy over, that's for certain. And I just might (after I'm done chewing and swallowing, of course, because that could get pretty ugly, otherwise).
Oh, the bright little sweet potato; how easy it is to become infatuated with it. It has a very special place all its own, a nifty little spot on the table set aside specifically for it and all of its glory; and may it make our bellies very happy and very warm, indeed, with all of the lovely accoutrements that it contains within. So what are we all waiting for? It's time to dig in!
Have a happy, healthy, joyous and safe Thanksgiving Holiday this year! Thank you for being wonderful you! And remember...
Taste what's good and pass it on.
Roasted Sweet Potato Brulee with Crispy Prosciutto, Pecans, Maple and Brown Sugar
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4 extra-large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed to 1” pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
½ teaspoon salt, plus a pinch, divided use
¼ teaspoon black pepper
8 slices prosciutto
4 tablespoons butter, room temp
3 tablespoons pure Maple syrup
1 ¼ cup pecans, chopped, divided use
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage leaves
3 heaping tablespoons brown sugar
-Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper, also, lightly butter and medium-sized baking/casserole dish, as well.
-Toss the peeled and cubed sweet potatoes with the 2 tablespoons olive oil, the ½ teaspoon of salt and the ¼ teaspoon of black pepper; turn the cubes out onto the lined baking sheet, and roast for about 40 minutes, or until fork-tender (stir the sweet potato cubes about half-way through the roasting to prevent them burning on one side).
-While the sweet potatoes roast, place a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat and drizzle about 1-2 teaspoons of oil into the pan; once the oil is hot, add in the slices of prosciutto (you may need to work in 2-3 batches, depending on the size of your pan), and crisp them in the pan for several minutes the way you would bacon, until browned and crispy; remove the prosciutto from pan and chop it up finely, and set aside for a moment.
-Once the sweet potato has roasted and is tender, remove from oven, and allow it cool just enough to handle (don't let it get too cool); next, add it to the bowl of a food processor, along with half of the chopped crispy prosciutto, the butter, the maple syrup, ¼ cup of the chopped pecans and the chopped sage leaves, and process everything until well blended and completely pureed and silky-smooth; next, using a spatula, scrape all of the pureed sweet potato mixture into the buttered baking/casserole dish, and smooth the top with the spatula.
-Set your oven to the “broil” setting, and place your oven rack in the middle position in your oven (not too close to the broiler); to finish the dish, sprinkle over the top of the smoothed puree the remaining half of the crispy prosciutto, the remaining 1 cup of chopped pecans, and the brown sugar; place the dish into the oven below the broiler, and broil the top of the casserole very carefully, moving the dish around if necessary for even caramelizing, just until the sugar begins to melt/brown and form a sweet “crust” on top; remove from oven, and serve immediately while hot.