Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Grilled Sweet Potatoes

I am lucky to have met and married my wife.  She’s a great lady and I’m a better man being married to her.  One of the many wonderful things about my wife is the family that came with her.

This is her brother, BIL (formally known as Barry).  BIL got his name because one day I found myself texting about him multiple times to different people and I got tired of typing out “Brother-In-Law”, so I shortened it to BIL.  It stuck, and now we both go by BIL.

BIL is the one on the right...

BIL’s a pretty good guy.  In a couple of weeks, he’s heading to Kenya with an organization called Each One Feed One International (EOFO).  Founded by BIL’s mother and father-in-law, EOFO is a nondenominational Christian organization focused on finding creative ways to meet the physical and spiritual needs of the people of Kenya, East Africa and Hyderabad, India.

One of the immediate physical needs of the people of East Africa is finding a way to feed their families.  To address this need, EOFO is helping train Kenyan’s on how to plant sweet potatoes in a way that will be more resistant toward draught, flooding, and nutrient loss.  These methods include no-till farming, crop rotation, and using natural soil covers to maintain the nutrient-rich layer of topsoil.

If you want to find out more about EOFO, my wife wrote more extensively about it on her blog, which you can check out here.

In honor of BIL’s trip to Kenya, I’ve decided to learn how to grill sweet potatoes.

While I usually refer to The Prophet whenever I’m trying something new on the grill, I decided to switch things up this time and rely on the expertise of another famous grill master, Bobby Flay.  Being a big fan of the cilantro and lime flavor combination (yes, that’s basically Mexican food), I knew Bobby Flay wouldn’t steer me wrong.  I got this recipe from foodnetwork.com.

Here’s what you’ll need:

3 medium sweet potatoes (try to get them to be of equal girth)
¼ cup Cilantro, finely chopped
2 teaspoons Lime Zest
Pinch of Cayenne Pepper
Canola Oil and a brush

Parcook the potatoes in boiling water until they are “fork tender.” 

Check out the comment section of this recipe at foodnetwork.com to get some helpful hints about how long to boil the potatoes.

I wish I could be more helpful in defining what “fork tender” means, but I really can’t say more than what the term implies.  Boil them until you can stick a fork in them pretty easily.  These little guys took about 20 minutes.

While the sweet potatoes are boiling, combine 1 tablespoon of salt with the 2 teaspoons of lime zest and the pinch of cayenne in a small bowl and set aside for later.  This would also be a good time to chop up the cilantro.

I would definitely put more cayenne in there next time.

When the potatoes are done, take them out and let them cool for a bit and go preheat your grill to medium.

This would actually be a good time to start grilling whatever protein you have to go with the sweet potatoes.

After they’ve cooled, cut the potatoes into wedges.  8 wedges per potato is about right.

Brush the sweet potatoes with canola oil, season lightly with salt and pepper, and throw them on the grill.  Make sure your grill grates are extra clean and have plenty of oil on them.  Like many other vegetables, the only way to get good grill marks is to have very clean, very hot, and well-oiled grates. 

Grill them on each side for about 1.5 minutes, so 4.5 minutes total.

Try as hard as you can to keep the potatoes from sticking to the grill.  You might even considering re-oiling your grates before your next turn.  Trust me, keeping those grill marks on the potato will make all the difference.

Take them off and immediately season with the salt and lime mixture.  Sprinkle them with the cilantro and dig in.

I found out that the grill marks are the key to this dish.  The sugar in the sweet potato caramelizes and adds a depth of flavor that you just can’t get from roasting.  Pretty darn good sweet potatoes right there.

1 comment:

  1. YO master chef!! I want these with my ribs next time.

    Stud Muffin