Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges with Yogurt Sauce, Pomegranate and Hazelnuts
As so often happens, I was seduced by produce at the grocery store. This time, it was pomegranates that were on sale, and I bought 2.
In a week we are headed out for 2 weeks in Costa Rica, so it is the standard rush of using all perishables before we go–including those pomegranates.
I also had some sweet potatoes, and my mind went to using a recipe from either Jerusalem (Ottolenghi and Tamimi) or Plenty (Ottolenghi). I also had red onion and hazelnuts, and I started thinking of a recipe out of Jerusalem that I had also had at Nopi in London. A roasted butternut squash with red onion and tahini and za’atar recipe.
But it didn’t use pomegranate, and that was the point of this particular effort.
I also remembered a recipe out of Plenty, Eggplant with Buttermilk Sauce, where the sauce used yogurt, and the final dish was topped with pomegranates. Then there was the Burnt Eggplant with Tahini and the Sweet Potato Wedges with Lemongrass Creme Fraiche.
I didn’t have quite all the ingredients for any one of those recipes, but I figured I had enough direction to get started.
So I started by making the sauce last night. I used 1/2 cup yogurt, and added the juice and zest of 1 lime. I added about a teaspoon of garlic paste, and a few grinds of coarse sea salt. I split and crushed one lemongrass stalk to the mix, and put in the fridge overnight.
In the end, the lemongrass didn’t add much flavor, and I wouldn’t bother with it again. It was a lot tarter than I wanted it to be, and I was hoping the sauce would mellow overnight.
I also seeded the two pomegranates last night. I figured I would get the labor intensive work done the night before.
This afternoon I sliced one sweet potato into wedges, and 1/2 of a red onion. I also peeled and split two rather gigantic cloves of garlic, so let’s call it 4 cloves.
While the oven heated up, I put them in a bowl and tossed with olive oil, coarse salt, and a few grinds of pepper.
Then laid them out on a parchment paper lined rimmed baking sheet.
I ended up roasting them around 40 minutes, turning a few times. And while that was happening, I needed to work on the sauce a bit. I removed the lemongrass, which as I said didn’t really add much flavor.
Some of the different sauce recipes included tahini, so I spooned a little of the yogurt sauce out into a small dish, and added a bit of roasted sesame tahini that I had. It worked but I didn’t want it to overwhelm the other flavors, so after adjusting amounts, I ultimately added probably two tablespoons to the sauce, a bit more salt, and whisked it all together.
I also toasted a handful of hazelnuts, and after they were done I placed them on a kitchen towel and rubbed to remove the skins, and chopped them.
All the toppings for the roasted veggies were ready.
Out of the oven came the veggies.
I arranged the sweet potato and red onion wedges on a plate, topped with the sauce, and sprinkled both the pomegranate seeds and chopped hazelnuts over the top.
For the second serving, I squeezed one of the garlic cloves over the sweet potatoes and it was delicious. I might fiddle with either adding roasted garlic to the sauce, or, rubbing cut garlic cloves over the sweet potatoes before roasting.
Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges with Yogurt Sauce, Pomegranate Seeds, and Chopped Hazelnuts
Inspired by multiple recipes from Jerusalem and Plenty.
1 large sweet potato
1/2 medium red onion
2 large or 4 medium garlic cloves
1 Tbsp olive oil
Coarse Sea Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup whole fat plain yogurt
Zest and juice of 1 lime
1 tsp garlic paste (or 1 large crushed clove garlic, remove later)
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 Tbsp roasted sesame tahini
1 pomegranate, seeded
1/4 cup hazelnuts, toasted and chopped.
If you can, whisk together the sauce ingredients and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat the oven to 400 Fahrenheit.
Scrub, but don’t peel the sweet potato. Cut in half, then in half again, and then again until you have 8 wedges. Place in a large bowl.
Cut a medium red onion in half, then pull off the peel but don’t cut off the root end. This will help keep the wedges together. Cut the half onion in half, then in half again to get four wedges.
Leave the peels on the garlic cloves. If they are large cloves, cut them in half.
Drizzle the olive oil over the vegetables in the bowl, and add a few grinds of the sea salt and pepper, then toss the vegetables gently so the onion wedges stay together and the potato wedges don’t break.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, then place the vegetables on the sheet. Roast 15-20 minutes and turn the vegetables with tongs and roast another 15-20 minutes more. Test the tenderness of the potatoes with a fork, and if necessary, turn and roast some more. You want them to be tender, but not falling apart.
Meanwhile, heat a small skillet over medium heat, and add the hazelnuts. Stir regularly and pay attention as they burn pretty quickly. It will probably be around 10 minutes. Judge it by smell. When you start to smell that wonderful roasted nut smell, remove from the heat.
Pour them out onto a clean dish cloth, and rub briskly with the cloth to remove the skins. Chop the nuts and set aside.
After you remove the vegetables from the oven, take one of the garlic cloves and squeeze out the roasted garlic into the sauce. Whisk together and taste. Add more roasted garlic if you like–do it by taste.
Arrange the wedges of sweet potato and onion on a serving plate, dollop the sauce over, and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and chopped hazelnuts.
This would make one vegetarian main dish, or an appetizer for four.