In Season: Baby Sweet Potatoes

Winter is the season for root vegetables, and sweet potatoes are one of my favorites.  They are healthy, low in calories, full of fiber, and a gorgeous color!  I’ve blogged about sweet potatoes on the grill, and as well as about other types of roasted potatoes, but never roasted sweets.   More precisely, roasted baby sweets.   But what makes them babies?

In recent years, baby vegetables have become popular, especially in restaurants.  While true baby vegetables are actually miniature varieties of the regular-sized ones, many are simply vegetables which have been prematurely harvested.  Worse yet, the “baby” carrots so many people love are really just regular carrots put through a machine to shape and size them into those perfect little orange snacks.  Convenient they may be, but don’t be fooled into thinking your eating anything more than a plain old carrot!

So, back to the baby sweet potato.  As far as I could tell, what I purchased were simply small sweet potatoes.  Perhaps they were the runts of the litter until some genius decided to package them up together, label them as “baby sweets” and sell them for twice the price!  But once I cooked and tasted them, I wasn’t sure what to make of them.  They seemed intensely sweeter than regular sweet potatoes, and had almost a cinnamon flavor to them—sort of sweet and spicy all at the same time.  I scoured the web looking for an explanation for these amazingly flavored potatoes, but came up short.  Whatever their origin—these are some seriously good sweets!

On a recent night I was making a pork tenderloin, so I decided to roast some baby sweets as a side dish.  Just like with my favorite Italian roasted potatoes, I tossed them with some olive oil, salt, pepper, and rosemary and roasted until tender on the inside, slightly crispy on the outside.  They were perfect just like this, but if you wanted to give them an extra boost of flavor, hit them with a splash of balsamic vinegar at the end.  Be sure to add it at the end so it won’t burn with the heat of the oven and the flavor will stay fresh.  Garnish with some fresh parsley if you have it, and enjoy this mid-winter treat!

Roasted Baby Sweets

 Serves 4

1 lb baby sweet potatoes, cut into 1″ pieces

2 tablespoons olive oil

1-2 teaspoons dried rosemary

Salt and pepper to taste

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Place the cut sweet potatoes into a ceramic baking dish or roasting pan and toss with olive oil, rosemary, salt and pepper.

Roast for about 35-40 minutes, or until potatoes are fork tender. 

If desired, drizzle with balsamic vinegar. 

Serve hot.

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