Monday, January 24, 2011

Sweet Potato and Nut Salad

I made this yesterday primarily to use up some produce that I'd had around for too long. I remembered the recipe as a good one, but in the "good, solid option" sense, not the "I'll eat the whole bowl now, please" sense.

Apparently I was wrong. I was definitely inclined to skip the rest of dinner and chow down on this alone. But I'm still not sure why. There is nothing spectacular about this salad - in fact, the dressing still needs some tweaking - and yet the combination is just right. There is warm and cold, soft and crunchy, sweet and tangy. I think of sweet potato as heavy, but the celery seems to lighten it up. The vinegar in the dressing adds just the right touch. And it takes under 15 minutes to prepare (and I tend to prep really slowly). What's not to love?

Sweet Potato and Nut Salad
Adapted from my Simply Quick and Easy cookbook.

1 lb sweet potato, peeled and diced
2 celery stalks, diced
4 1/2 oz celery root, grated
2 green onions, chopped
1 3/4 oz pecans, chopped (when I read the recipe this time, I read this as 1 3/4 cups, which I felt was too much, so I just poured in what seemed to me a more reasonable amount . . . probably close to the original 1 3/4 oz)
2 tsp fresh thyme (my thyme doesn't look so good right now, so I used a pinch of the dried stuff)
2 tbsp vegetable oil*
1 1/2 tsp light brown sugar*
1 1/2 tsp cider vinegar* (the recipe calls for garlic wine vinegar, but I can't find it at the store)

* The amounts for the dressing are all estimates, as I still haven't gotten all my proportions right. The original recipe called for 4 tbsp oil, 1 tsp sugar and 1 tbsp vinegar, but I thought this was way too heavy on the oil. I was unable to remove any oil when I realized this, but I did increase the other ingredients to about what you see here. I think it would be best with this amount of oil, but since I haven't tried it this way, I'd recommend tasting it and using your own judgement.

Cook sweet potatoes in a pot of boiling water for about 5 minutes, until tender (mine took 7). Drain and set aside to cool.

Stir celery root, celery, scallions and pecans together in a medium bowl. When the sweet potatoes are cool, add them too.

In a small bowl, whisk together thyme, oil, sugar and vinegar until well combined. Pour over salad and serve.

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