Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Sweetest Thing: Japanese Sweet Potato -- Eat One Naked Today!

Last night, I ate the most delectable, pure food: a Japanese sweet potato. Normally, if the supermarket has stocked a variety of sweet potatoes, I gravitate towards the deep orange-colored variety (usually Beauregard or Jewel). I guess that's just the color I associate with sweet potatoes. Aren't we all like bees, selecting the brightest flowers, hoping for the sweetest nectar? I've heard it repeated many times that the brighter the color, the greater the nutrient density and flavor.
From Pauline Panzer's Blog, Notes from a Kitchen

Well, that adage may be true in most cases, but when it comes to sweet potatoes, perish the thought. The skin of the Japanese sweet potato can be more dark red than the burnt umber of its American cousin. It seems also to be smaller and more compact -- an elegant vegetable. But the inside is a gingery yellow, pretty but not hot and sexy like the flaming orange we've come to expect from sweet potatoes.
To eat this humble treasure, I used no elaborate recipe; in fact, I used no recipe at all. I simply roasted the tuber in a hot oven. That's it. I poked a few holes in it, put it in at 425F for a while (maybe an hour). When ready, a fork splits the crisping skin, easily moving through the soft, languid flesh.
And I dressed this bird with absolutely nothing. Ate it naked. Cutting into the potato, I noticed how fluffy and starchy it was, unlike the somewhat wetter and stringier orange sweet potatoes. While some bloggers find the Japanese variety to be more "dense" in consistency, I found that not to be the case -- I thought that the slightly drier texture of the satsuma-imo left me with an impression of lightness folded into something solid and bone-sticking. Sort of two things at once.
The scent blooming from the steaming morsel smelled so much like maple syrup or brown sugar that I knew I wouldn't need to sweeten it. In fact, I didn't even put butter or salt on it. It was that good, that sweet. While many vegetables are edible plain, few are as delicious as this one. 
Orange-harlot sweet potatoes make great fries and pies, but the simple pleasure of this diminutive sweet potato should not be passed over on account of its humble coloring. 

1 comment:

Fresh Local and Best said...

This is one of my favorite root vegetables. It is so sweet that you can have it for dessert.