Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Locavore Kitchen: Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Basil Oil and Garlic Scapes

What happens when you infuse extra virgin olive oil with fresh basil, drizzle it over sliced sweet potatoes, sprinkle sliced garlic scapes, freshly cracked black pepper and sea salt over it all and then slowly roast it in the oven?

The answer is magic.

I've been in garlic scape heaven ever since I purchased my first scapes of the the season at the farmer's market a few weeks ago. I've been adding them to salads, pasta, scrambled eggs, home fries, stir fries...pretty much everything.

This dish combines scapes with a fresh herb (basil) and a root vegetable (sweet potatoes). I imagine other variations...thyme and carrots, sage and beets, rosemary and parsnips. The possibilities are endless!

Measure your basil...pack as much of it as you can into your measuring cup...optimize the herbal deliciousness!

Measure your oil..appreciate its lovely golden color.

Oil and basil get together in a saucepan. Turn on the heat, step back, and allow magic to happen.

Fish the crunchy simmered basil leaves out of the oil. Sprinkle them with salt. Eat them happily. Or throw them out...totally your call.

Slice your sweet potatoes...curse yourself for never sharpening your knives.

Cut your scapes on the diagonal...this increases the garlicy surface area, plus, everything looks fancier when it's sliced diagonally.

Toss your army of sweet potato wedges with some basil oil and place them on your cookie sheet...sprinkle with delicious things.

Roast them until they get all golden brown and crispy and fragrant. Burn your fingers when you eat one of them directly out of the oven.

Make your sweet potatoes fancy...serve them with chiffonaded basil (isn't chiffonade just the most delightful word?)

I served these with a beet green and feta quiche...recipe to come!

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Basil Oil and Garlic Scapes
Makes 4-6 servings
Basil Oil recipe adapted from 'How to Cook Everything Vegetarian' by Mark Bittman

1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 large sweet potatoes, scrubbed and sliced into wedges
1 medium garlic scape, thinly sliced
Fresh ground black pepper and sea salt
Fresh basil for garnish (optional)

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

Combine olive oil and 1/4 cup fresh basil in a small saucepan. Warm over low heat until it starts sizzling. Continue to cook for 5 minutes.

Allow to cool. Strain the basil out of the oil.

Toss the sweet potatoes in 2 tablespoons of the basil oil and spread in a single layer on one or two baking sheets. (Store the leftover basil oil in the fridge.)

Sprinkle the garlic scapes over the sweet potatoes. Salt and pepper to taste.

Roast for 30 minutes. Flip the sweet potatoes. Salt and pepper to taste.

Roast for an additional 20-30 minutes until the sweet potatoes start to brown on both sides.

Remove from the oven and garnish with thinly-sliced fresh basil leaves.

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