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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Tahini dressed salad with spicy sweet potato croutons

Today. I. Cooked.

It wasn't much of anything really. Just an excuse to save what was left of the wilting Romain lettuce in the fridge and use up the sweet potatoes that we've had since Thanksgiving. Aside from roasting the 'taters, it took all of 15 minutes to prepare, and I didn't even use a cutting board. Tahini's the soul food of the Arab world, comforting, but not particularly glamorous. Nothin' special, really.

But perhaps one of the best meals I've ever eaten [topped only by the fattouch and mjeddera dinner that immediately followed a drug-study induced fruit fast].

It's been a while since I've spent some quality time in my kitchen. I went to Wisconsin for a week, only to return and discover that myself and the rest of the staff at my job were laid off effective January, subsequently locked out out of the office after a hostile showdown with our ED, and and I ,somehow had been appointed shop steward for my orgs union. Needless to say, its been a stressful week, and stealing a few minutes away to dabble in my fridge and scour my shelves for ideas was precisely what I needed.

This didn't turn out exactly like I imagined, but the end result was a good one. I think I was subconsciously inspired by Heidi Swanson's potato crouton recipe over at 101 Cookbooks, though my original vision was a soft, almost mashed potato on top of the salad.

I chopped the potatoes into small cubes, sprinkled cumin and a dash of Jamaican red pepper over the top, and roasted them in the over for about 45 minutes. The result was a crispy, smoked outside and a creamy inside. The nuttiness of tahini was a perfect match for the sweet potatoes and the chickpeas rounded this out into a filling main course.

Tahini dressed salad with Spicy Sweet Potato Croutons

5 smallish sweet potatoes
1/4 c. olive oil
1 tbsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. Jamaican Red Pepper [can substitute cayenne]

2 heads romaine lettuce, chopped into strips
1 12-oz can chickpeas
1/2 c. minced fresh parsley
1/2 c. minced onion
1 c. tahini
1/4 c. lemon
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp salt

Prepare potatoes by chopping into 1 inch cubes, and arrange on baking sheet so that they are one potato deep. Drizzle with olive oil, stir to coat each side, and sprinkle cumin and pepper over potatoes. Give 'em another stir, and roast them in the oven at 450 degrees for about 45 minutes, or until they are brown and crispy.

Chop lettuce into thin strips, like fattouch you see in arabic restaurants. Add chickpeas, parsley, onion. Mash together garlic and salt with a morter and pestle, and add to mixture. Drizzle tahini and lemon over salad, and mix well.

Allow potatoes to cool and layer them on top of the salad. Do not mix. Potatoes will incorporate as you serve the salad.

As with all my recipes, these amounts are approximations, so add and subtract what you need to make it look and taste good! I'm working on getting a decent camera so I can start posting pretty pictures like all the cool food bloggers.


Lunch Buckets said...

sounds good!

Toothfairyrecipes said...

That sounds wonderful I have some Tahini in the fridge, I think i'll try this tonight.

Mansi Desai said...

that sounds great! I'm a fan of heidi's recipes too:) the tahini sounds delicious!