Wednesday, 15 April 2009

I Yam What I Yam. A Sweet Potato.

Now that the weather is warming up, it is time to leave the kitchen and start burning propane. When comfortable, you can cook more than burgers and chicken on a stick on your outdoor grill.

Generally speaking, there are three overall methods of cooking: dry heat, moist heat and n0-heat. Within those are all the ways we cook. For instance, dry heat is roasting, grilling, sauteing, deep frying (yes, deep frying is considered a dry heat method) and broiling. Moist cooking is blanching and braising. No-heat would be curing and pickling and these sort of things.

If you can remember that the BBQ is just an oven that is outside, then sky's the limit. Once you have the mindset, you can do braises on your BBQ, or roast beef or chicken or whatever, standard grilling foods like meats and vegetables and even some starches. Heck, desserts aren't even out of the question if you're brave enough. If you have some cedar planks, then you can really treat your BBQ like any oven.

It is unfortunate that sweet potatoes aren't as popular as they should be. Not to be confused with the yam, sweet potatoes are a distant cousin of the common potato we all know and love. Yet, sweet potatoes are high in fibre and complex sugars. Virtually opposite to the delicious cousin. So, why don't we eat more of it? I'm not sure why but I do know that many people I talk to about cooking are often afraid that they are higher in carbs than other potatoes which couldn't be further from the truth.

So stop being a Sweet Potato hater and make the switch. It is brilliant mashed, in a soup, roasted and, of course, grilled. Yum.

Grilled Sweet Potatoes with a Honey Tarragon Glaze

2 Large Sweet Potatoes, cut into 3 cm slices
50 ml Liquid Honey
Small Bunch of Fresh Tarragon, chopped
Juice and Zest of 3 Limes
Salt and Pepper to Taste
Drizzle of Oil

In a sauce pan, combine honey, tarragon and lime juice. Reduce by half to a glaze. Remove from heat.

On your BBQ, heat one side to high and the other to medium low. In a bowl, toss sweet potatoes in oil, salt and pepper and zest. Grill potatoes on hot side and grill for 3 - 4 minutes. Turn sweet potato one quarter to make cross hatches and grill for another 3 - 4 minutes. Flip and repeat. Transfer potato to other side of BBQ and using a silicone pastry brush, glaze potato with reduction. Cook until tender. Usually 5 minutes depending on the thickness of the sweet potato.

Serve immediately.

Serves 4.

A Humble Chef's tip: you can lay down some foil on your cooler side of your BBQ to prevent burning.

Variation: Sweet Potatoes have an affinity with spices like cinnamon and clove and these sort of things. You can make a sweet glaze using the same method except omit the tarragon and substitute whatever spice you often use in apple pie.

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