Friday November 16, 2012

Well, I don’t use yams here and there "ain’t" no candy, but here is my version of this Holiday classic. I have married salty with sweet again, forcing Candied Yams to "grow up" a bit.

Believe it or not, sweet potatoes are as American as apple pie. Native Americans were growing sweet potatoes when Columbus came in 1492, and by the 16th century, sweet potatoes were being cultivated in the southern states, where they became a staple in the traditional cuisine.

Today, sweet potatoes are used in cuisines all over the world as a satisfying and versatile vegetable with a well-earned reputation for nutrition. It is even said that while yams are inflammatory, sweet potatoes are anti-inflammatory.

What is nice to know about sweet potatoes is that pesticides are not frequently used while growing sweet potatoes because they have very few natural enemies.

Visually, about the only way to tell the difference is when you see what looks to be a sweet potato, and it is the size of your arm, most likely it is a yam. Sweet potatoes are generally smaller and much easier to work with.

Stuffed sweet potatoes wrapped in prosciutto

I think you just may be preparing these salty-sweet gems for your Holiday tables instead of the classic candied yams. They really don’t take any more time to prepare then the old standby, but the flavor makes any extra work well worth the effort.

6 small sweet potatoes, peeled (if using larger potatoes you will need more filling and prosciutto)

1/4 c. brie cheese(or use bleu cheese, crumbled)

1/2 t. dried rosemary

1/2 t. dried, crushed thyme

1 t. minced garlic in oil

1/2 t. cracked black pepper

3-4 oz. thinly sliced prosciutto

3 T. crushed nuts (your choice)

3 T. minced, dried cranberries

6 T. maple syrup (about)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Peel potatoes then boil them for about 5 minutes or until starting to soften. Immediately remove from water and let cool enough to handle. Potatoes may not be cooked completely but will finish cooking in the oven.

Meanwhile, add the cheese, rosemary, thyme, garlic and black pepper to a bowl. Mash ingredients together until all is well combined: set aside.

Once potatoes are slightly cooled, slice potatoes in halve length-wise. Make sure to remember which two halves go together, as you will be sealing up the filling.

Using a small spoon, scrape out a shallow path, length-wise down the middle of each side of the potato. Fill the bottom half each potato with about 1-2 t. of the cheese herb mixture, spreading it evenly throughout the shallow path. Do not over fill the potatoes. Place the top half of the potato over the bottom to form a whole sweet potato. Try to gently work the halves closed so that the stuffing doesn’t seep out during the cooking process. Repeat this process with all of the potatoes.

Wrap each of the stuffed sweet potatoes with thinly sliced prosciutto, working carefully so the prosciutto doesn’t rip. Try to wrap the prosciutto as tightly as possible, using a toothpick if desired(just remember to remove them before serving. Remove potatoes to a wax paper, foil or lined baking pan and bake 15 minutes, or until ham is starting to crisp. Meanwhile, mix together the nuts and cranberries in small bowl. Remove potatoes from oven and sprinkle nut mixture over the top. Drizzle about 1 T. maple syrup and continue cooking another 10 minutes. Remove from oven and serve hot. Enjoy.