Stalking the Waiter

Riffing on foods, flavors and methods, that would be telling.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Yams. Who knew?

It's almost Thanksgiving. Time for candied sweet potatoes, or yams. Get out your brown sugar and marshmallows. Right? Well, maybe.

I was turned onto the deliciousness of yams by a kid who was a very picky eater. She would not eat veggies, except under threat of death, but she loved yams. The first time I ate at her house, we had yams baked in their skins, then mashed with a little butter. It was surprisingly good. I decided I liked yams, too. ;+)

So, being me, I started playing with ideas for using yams in my everyday cooking.
  • I now nuke them in a plastic bag to conserve their moisture, lest they become impossibly stringy and tough, but in addition to butter, I add a little garlic or garlic salt. What can I say? I love garlic.
  • They're also very good cut up in chunks and steamed or boiled and added to curries. Just keep them hot and fold them in at the end.
  • I tried frying leftover yams, like you might a potato, but discovered that pan frying can be iffy – they have so much sugar in them that they burn easily. Deep frying, however, if you have the patience and don't mind the cleanup, works well with yams precooked very al dente.
  • They're good in combination with other "roasted" veggies as a side dish or salad, dressed with extra virgin olive oil and freshly ground pepper, or a bit of balsamico vinaigrette – use a light hand with the balsmico, you just want a hint of flavor from it.
  • And, my favorite, they make a tasty and different potato salad.
This last is the one I've experimented with the most. I've made it with a curry mayonnaise and bits of diced candied ginger. This is totally yum and so good you almost don't need anything else. I've also made it with regular mayo, just like an ordinary potato salad, if there is such a thing at your house. The hardest thing about this is keeping the potatoes firm enough not to turn to mush. I'd recommend steaming the cut up pieces and carefully monitoring their consistency.

More potato salads. Who would have guessed?


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