Japanese Sweet Potato: My New Obsession

Japanese sweet potatoes. Photos by Keri White

I happened upon Japanese sweet potatoes at my local farmers market last week.

They were in a crate next to the purple sweet potatoes, which I have written about before, and also love. The purple ones are more eye-grabbing, which probably explains why I was drawn to them in the past, overlooking their tastier, but less dramatically-hued cousins.

But as the adage goes, “you can’t judge a book by its cover” or, in this case, a sweet potato by its skin.

The varietal I discovered has reddish skin and creamy yellowish flesh and tastes of chestnuts. It is slightly starchier than other types and is said to be great for baking because of the taste and texture. I almost consider that a waste.

Because they are so tasty and delicious as is, I am not inclined to adulterate them with sugar and cream and eggs and butter and cinnamon or whatever else might go into a dessert version. But, to invoke another adage, “to each his own.”

My preferred way to enjoy these delicious tubers is simply roasted with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper. If you can’t find the Japanese variety, this method works just fine with whatever type you have on hand.

Roasted Japanese Sweet Potatoes
Serves 2

These tend to be on the smaller side, so I allocate two potatoes per person. If you have leftovers, toss them in a salad tomorrow.

4 Japanese sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon salt (or to taste)
Generous grinding of fresh cracked pepper

Heat your oven to 375 degrees F.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Spread the cut sweet potatoes on the parchment and drizzle them with oil. Toss them well to lightly coat each piece. Sprinkle them with salt and pepper.

Roast them for about 40 minutes (or longer), until the potatoes are beginning to brown at the edges and are soft through the middle.



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