One of the chief luxuries of my current life of leisure is the ability to pack up and travel. No vacation days, no Blackberry-induced guilt. Just me and the open road. And, in the case of this week, my friend Maggie, who, as I’ve told you, is my woman-of-leisure (if only for a few weeks) cohort. We are heading to her hometown, Nashville, later today and will be making a detour into the Mississippi Delta too. I promise to take photos and eat well. You can thank me later.
But, daily readers: never you worry. I am leaving this blog in good hands: Kevin’s. I’ve got a handful of posts lined up for my absence and he’ll be moderating comments and dealing with any disasters or what-have-you’s that pop up. Given this impressive set of responsibilities I have bestowed upon my husband, I want to ensure that he’ll be well-fed during my southern sojourn. As such, I’ve got the refrigerator stocked with all sorts of delicious-ness.
(Click “more” for the rest of the story, more photos & the recipe.)
There are the usual suspects: a quick-bread for breakfast and a pan of to-be-baked mac. I’ve left a bowl of this potato salad too, as I know he’s planning to grill himself up a burger one night (which I’m sure will go quite well with his tear-laced beer; you know: because he’ll miss me so). About this salad: it’s not your average potato salad. Which, I think, is appropriate considering that we are well into backyard barbecue season and, if you’re like me, have had our fill of the mayo-y standard.
This recipe swaps in sweet potatoes for the traditional tubers and features a zingy, bright vinaigrette of orange juice and zest, rice wine vinegar and a light oil. Taste as you go with the salt, as it really helps to perk up the simple flavors. I used chives in place of the scallions called for in the recipe (because I had a great big bunch on hand), but I think either one would be great. The flavors develop and deepen as the salad chills in the fridge, making this a perfect candidate for a make-ahead dish. I hope Kevin will like it. Wouldn’t want him to forget who butters his (banana) bread, now would we?
Chilled Sweet Potato Salad
Adapted from Martha Stewart
4 medium sweet potatoes (3 pounds), peeled and cut into 1/2- to 3/4-inch pieces (8 cups)
3 tablespoons rice-wine vinegar
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons sliced chives or scallions
coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons safflower or grapeseed oil
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add sweet potatoes, and return to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain.
Whisk vinegar, orange zest and juice, chives, and 1 teaspoon salt in a small bowl. Add oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking until emulsified. Season with pepper. Toss dressing with sweet potatoes in a large bowl, and garnish with remaining 1/2 scallion. Refrigerate until chilled, up to 1 day.