even the cat likes ’em! ::::
It is plain that I love purple food. I am not sure what brought me to this obsession with the violaceous color in my edibles, but it is certainly the brilliant color that keeps my gaze now. I have dreamed about holding a purple party, semi-analogous to the white-themed, secret dinner party Dîner en Blanc started by François Pasquier in France about 28 years ago. For my Dîner en Pourpre, we would convene at a private place for the meal, invitation-only, preferably in shade, all the guests wearing purple, drinking purple (maybe a bit burgundy) wine as we set up. I envision roasted beet tarts, bowls filled with juicy blueberries, figs, and grapes, purple potato salad with red onions, red cabbage salad, the Filipino dessert ube halaya, blackberry ice cream, pickled eggs stained neon-purple-pink with beets, roasted purple carrots, grilled eggplant, purple cauliflower soup, heirloom purple tomatoes dressed with vinegar and amethyst basil, taro coconut soup, and lavender and violet lemonade. I can easily keep going.
Realistically, I will not be having any fancy dinner parties soon. I can happily imagine the fare, extolling the virtues of purple flavonoids, dreaming of the perfectly set table and the perfectly fit dress for the occasion. And I can sample one or two things at a time in my own kitchen.
So when I discovered organic purple sweet potatoes at the local grocery store, I promptly bought 2 pounds, knowing I would find a recipe. I am a lone sweet potato fan in my family, so I paid no mind to what I thought others may like. This was purely selfish.
Seeing as I had just purchased some antique many casserole dishes with lids, I decided to make mini sweet potato roasts, based off of the crispy potato roast I made previously. Thinly sliced sweet potatoes, butter and garlic, fresh herbs: what could be better?
My personal one-guest Dîner en Pourpre was a success: I polished off a dish crispy, roasted purple sweet potatoes. And ate another. I offered every family member to try the potatoes, but as expected, everyone declined. The other two dishes remained on the counter to cool before placing in the refrigerator. These roasts can be made one or two days before serving, warmed, and taste just as good as the first day.
My lapse was that I did not consider the cat. Our cuddly and curious older kitten Tommy loves to explore, even on top of stoves and high shelves. Apparently, some kittens like sweet potatoes too. Not invited to the party!
One year ago: goodbye, california!
- One and a half to 2 pounds of purple sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced thinly. I used the 2.0 setting on my mandolin.
- 5 tablespoons salted butter (or coconut oil, if vegan is preferred)
- 5 tablespoons olive oil (I used my basil oil.)
- salt and pepper
- One large clove of garlic chopped finely
- A few sprigs of fresh thyme
- Sour cream, to serve
- Special equipment: 4 individual oven-safe mini casserole dishes with covers. Mine were ~12 oz / 300ml / 1½ cups, though I bet 10 oz containers would work too. The lids are also not absolutely needed, but it helps.
- Once the sweet potatoes are peeled and sliced thinly, set them aside in a bowl.
- Melt the butter and olive oil in a small sauce pan. Add the garlic and gently cook until fragrant. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, do a dry run for fitting: try to fit the sliced sweet potatoes in your dishes to account for size or needed adjustments. You might need to slice more sweet potato and move some of the larger slices to another casserole for better fit. Remove the slices and set aside.
- Put about 1 tablespoon of the garlic butter-oil mixture into each mini casserole dish. Paint the sides with the same butter-oil. Position slices of the purple sweet potato vertically, so that each many casserole dish is packed fairly tightly. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, ensuring that some gets into the cracks between slices. Using half of the fresh thyme, tuck a few leaves of thyme in between sweet potato slices.
- Drizzle the remaining butter liberally over each many casserole dish to cover all the slices well.
- At this step, you can place the casserole dishes covered in the refrigerator until ready to bake. You can keep them well wrapped in the refrigerator for a day if needed.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Cover each mini casserole with foil then put on each dish's ceramic lid. If you do not have mini casserole dishes with covers, crimping the foil cover tightly works fine.
- Bake for 30 minutes then increase temperature to 450 degrees F and remove ceramic covers and foil. Roast for 15 minutes more to crisp.
- Garnish with remaining fresh thyme, sprinkle with a finishing salt, and serve with sour cream.