Num Num

eat. cook. write.

August 14, 2011

Sweet potato and Strawberry starter with Paw-Paw pip dressing

Its not every day that your brother turns quarter-of-a-century years old and happens to be in town. It’s not every day you find out that you are being flown to Cape Town next weekend to represent Rhodes at vinovarsity. Its not every day that you notice the first strawberries for sale (and cheaply, at Her Majesty’s Fruit and Veg). Its not everyday that its Intervarsity and the streets of Grahamstown are sprinkled with students in hand-painted overalls, with crackling bottles in hand- already stumbling and ready drink themselves into a purple haze.
To celebrate this special day, we had a larny dinner. My brother resided over wine tasting practice (he had a big challenge in helping us prepare for the competition next week). I went out on a limb and bought lamb. And strawberries. And almonds for toasting.

My favourite kind of dinner parties are the ones where the kitchen swells with friends. (and, admittedly, when some of them stay over to help wash the mountain of dishes).

The measure of a good friend...

Sweet Potato and Strawberry Starter with Paw-Paw pip dressing

I found the inspiration for this recipe in the Pasella cookbook which is full of other quirky ideas. I adapted into a salad that’s a bit more schmancy, but if you don’t have a ring, you can just pop all the ingredients in a bowl and serve it as a side. The pips really add another layer of flavour. 

Seves 8 as a starter

For the salad:
  • 2 large sweet potatoes ( buy them with diamter in mind- you want to fit the rounds into a ring)
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • A big dash of olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Salt and pepper
  • Rocket/ and or micro (baby) salad
  • 450g fresh strawberries
  • A dash of balsamic vinegar
  • 250ml vegetable oil, for frying

For the dressing:
  • About 3 tablespoons of pips from a paw-paw
  • 1/3 cup extra- virgin olieve oil (this makes the student budget squeel just a tad but you have to live a little)
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1tablespoon castor sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 200C.
  2. For the dressing: Place the paw- paw pips in the bowl of a small blender and whizz until nicely crushed. Add the remaining ingredients and blend. Set aside until dinner time.
  3. Wash the sweet potatoes but don’t peel them. Cut them into 8 rounds about 1,5cm thick. You should have enough left over to peel into crisps, (or use another sweet potato). Place the strips in water to fry later.  Place the slices in a bowl and add olive oil, paprika, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Mix well with your hands. Place in a roasting tray and bake for about 30 minutes or until golden brown, even a little caramelised. Since my oven burns the fun out of anything near to the bottom element, I turn them once during baking.
  4. While the sweet potatoes are baking, cut the strawberries into cubes, about 1cm big, setting 5 big juicy ones aside. Blend the juicy ones in the same bowl as the dressing, and mix in with the cubes strawberries. Add a dash of balsamic and about 10ml of the dressing.
  5. Heat up the vegetable oil, and dry the sweet potato strips before frying. Remove from oil when they are golden brown and drain on kitchen towel. Try to stop everyone on snacking on them before dinnertime.
  6. When the sweet potato is done, remove from the oven and allow to cool until just touchable. Use a ring cutter of about 4- 5cm diameter to cut out rings, or if they are the perfect size already, squish them into the base of a ring that’s resting in the centre of your plate. Now spoon in a layer of the strawberry mixture.
  7. Dress the leaves in a touch of dressing and pile carefully onto the strawberry layer. Top with a few crisps and swiggle some dressing around using a teaspoon.

= crunchy, sweet, sour, savoury, smooth, yum!

You can do everything a few hours ahead and just warm up or bake the sweet potato before dinner. Its nice when its still a bit warm.

It seems Whale is teaching Ta how to approach a stack


Anonymous said...

Your ability to write professionally whilst still keeping it fresh is admirable. You are going far, Black pepper beauty.

Carina Truyts said...

Why now thank you. You are very kind.