Sweet Potato Spears with Lemongrass Dip is a healthy appetizer or side dish that lets you indulge without the guilt ~ if you love sweet potato fries, you’ll love these!
Do you know your trigger foods? I learned about them from my friend Roberta who does Weight Watchers. Trigger foods are the ones you just can’t stop eating. They trigger your binge reflex, or something. Usually they are foods that contain some combination of refined sugar, fats and salt, and theoretically if you can identify your problem foods, you can eat healthier by keeping them out of your life, and your cupboards, as much as possible. They can be a specific food, like Fritos, or a larger class of food, like ice cream.
Ive known for a long time now that one of my little problem areas is chips. Chips of all kinds. I don’t stop until the bag is empty, and if you set a bowl of them in front of me, I’ll embarrass myself. Although I’m pretty good about not buying them, I make an exception when we have friends over. And sometimes I think I might even invite people over on a Friday night just to have an excuse to buy a few bags. (sick, isn’t it?) So in my case these crunchy sweet potato wedges are a little bit of delicious rehab.
Sweet potatoes are available in several colors, ranging from deep orange, to pale creamy yellow. Sometimes the dark orange variety is mis-labeled as yams, but they are actually sweet potatoes. True yams are a large starchy white root vegetable and you pretty much have to go to Africa to find them. You can use any color sweet potatoes for this recipe.
Raw sweet potatoes are surprisingly dense; you’ll need a large heavy knife to slice them into wedges, and be careful!
Dips can get so predictable, but the bright lemongrass and ginger flavor of this one sets it apart. The inspiration recipe calls for a base of creme fraiche, but oddly my store didn’t carry it, so I substituted Crema Mexicana, which is basically the same thing. You could easily use Greek yogurt or sour cream, too. You can also MAKE YOUR OWN CREME FRAICHE.
Let’s be clear, though, I’m not guaranteeing that you will be able to stop eating these. Make them at your own risk.
- 3 sweet potatoes (try to find evenly shaped ones, not too twisted or crooked)
- olive oil for brushing
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- 1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
- 3/4 tsp sea salt
- fresh cracked pepper to taste
- 1 Serrano or jalapeno pepper, thinly sliced
- 1 stalk lemongrass
- 3/4 cup creme fraiche, Crema Mexicana, sour cream, or Greek yogurt
- zest and juice of 1 lime
- 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- Set the oven to 400F
- Wash the potatoes, but leave the skin on. Cut each one in half lengthwise, and then into half again, lengthwise. Cut the four wedges in half again, leaving you with 8 long wedges.
- Lay them out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush the wedges with olive oil, and then sprinkle with the coriander, coriander seeds, mustard seeds, salt and pepper.
- Roast for about 25 to 30 minutes, until you can easily pierce the potato with a sharp knife.
- Scatter the hot pepper rings around the spears and serve with the sauce alongside.
- To make the sauce: Peel the outer layers from the stalk of lemongrass. Trim off the root end, and the green ends, so you are left with a short pale yellow piece of the stalk. Rough chop it and then put in the bowl of a small food processor. Put the ginger in with it and run the machine until both are as finely ground as you can get them.
- Stir in the lime juice and zest, creme fraiche, and salt. Taste and adjust the seasonings if you need to.
---this is adapted from a recipe from Plenty, by Yotem Ottolenghi