My farmer often emails us a preview of the week’s CSA share so we can gather our recipes. She mentioned that she was about to dig up sweet potatoes, or rather was hoping to dig up sweet potatoes. Below ground crops must be nerve-racking to a farmer. I am hoping she found some, because I love sweet potatoes. I especially love them when they break through the marshmallow and brown sugar stereotypes. (For the record, it’s still a must at Thanksgiving.)
I happened to have some sweet potatoes I bought at the Sugar Land Farmer’s Market from a few weeks ago. Sweet potatoes are so kind that way…you don’t feel the timer ticking down on them like greens and eggplants. Usually I roast any vegetable when I can, but there are a few recipes where I really don’t want the deep carmelized flavor. Sounds crazy, I know, but boiling is just right to make a sweet potato mash. Even my kids love them this way, if I don’t go too crazy with the peppers.
Hot-n-Spicy Sweet Potato Mash
3 – 4 sweet potatoes
1-2 hot peppers (jalapeno or serrano), whole, de-stemmed (1 for mild, 2 or more for hot)
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
3 tablespoons salted butter
Chunk the sweet potatoes and add to a medium saucepan of salted water. I keep the water level to just above the sweet potatoes, so the flavor doesn’t dilute too much. Add the whole peppers and bring to boil. When the potatoes are tender, add the cilantro and turn off the heat. After the cilantro wilts a little, pour off the water. Add the butter and blend with a hand mixer. I suppose you could hand mash the potatoes, but the peppers break apart and distribute so nicely with a mixer, I’d go to the extra trouble. Taste and adjust the butter and salt as needed. Top with a slice or two of the pepper to serve as a warning to the diner of delicate palate.