No, I didn’t make pecans. I’ve not yet graduated to that level or Martha-esque back-to-basics style cooking. I was just making this meal away from home and didn’t have my camera with me. Or, more importantly my knife. David Lebovitz one said that he always takes his knives with him when he is expected to cook round a friend’s house, or even away on holiday, and I’m starting to see the attraction. Of course people who don’t have the same love and fascination of cooking as me aren’t going to spend their hard-earned cash on a beautifully balanced, full-tang, ice-hardened stainless steel German chef’s knife. Understandable. But having been spoilt with this beauty in my own kitchen it’s something of a shock when faced with a blade which bends and wobbles disturbingly as I try and force it to cut through a sweet potato. Imagine what would have happened if I’d been cutting squash instead?! Next time I’ll bring my camera and my knife.
Chopping aside, this is a ridiculously simple salad to throw together, taking mere moments. The flavours are not too strong (choose a nice mild goats’ cheese so it doesn’t overpower the other flavours).
Sweet potato, pecan and goats’ cheese salad
Inspired by Smitten Kitchen
1 large sweet potato
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon light olive oil
4 tablespoons pecans, crumbled
100g soft goats cheese, chopped or crumbled
Another tablespoon light olive oil
1 teaspoon white wine/cider vinegar
1. Wash and dry the sweet potato. Chop into small wedges, an inch or two in each dimension. Place on a large baking tray and drizzle with the olive oil and cinnamon. Sprinkle some salt and pepper on top and give the tray a couple of shakes so the pieces are fairly evenly coated. Roast in a 180 C oven for 30 minutes.
2. Remove the sweet potato from the oven and crumble the pecans over the top. The nuts don’t need to be chopped, they break apart quite readily in your fingertips. Give the tray another shake and return to the oven for 10 minutes.
3. Arrange the rocket on a plate. Throw the chopped goats cheese on top. Remove the sweet potato and pecans from the oven and tip them onto the plates.
4. Finish the salad with a light dressing of the tablespoon of olive oil whisked together with the vinegar and a pinch of salt; drizzle this over the salad and serve.