Baked Sweet Potatoes Dressed Up with Bacon and Shallots

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Baked Sweet Potatoes Dressed Up with Bacon and Shallots

Nothing is better than baked potatoes, except maybe baked sweet potatoes. It seems many North Americans agree. We eat about seven pounds of sweet potatoes each year and a whopping fifty pounds of white potatoes. I’m here to say we should do our best to flip those numbers around. Not that I mean too much disrespect to the white potato. Mashed, baked, roasted and even fried I love and eat white potatoes often. However, the truth is there considerably less nutritional value in a white potato than there is in the more nutrient-dense sweet potato. In fact, nutritionally speaking baked sweet potatoes are almost too good to be true. Even if you call them yams.

Which you might be inclined to do. Though technically yams and sweet potatoes are different tubers from different genera (that’s the proper plural for genus I think). Years ago, when orange-fleshed sweet potatoes were introduced in the southern United States, producers and shippers thought they needed to distinguish them from the more traditional, white-fleshed potatoes. So the marketing geniuses settled on the name of a similar tuber known in Africa as nyami (of the Dioscorea genus). The word needed to be Americanized (of course?) and became yam. So, in this country at least, yams are actually sweet potatoes (Ipomoea batatas) and have a moist texture and an orange (or sometimes white) flesh. Although the terms are generally used interchangeably, the U.S. Department of Agriculture requires that the label “yam” always be accompanied by “sweet potato” (but not vice versa). Which is probably what led to the confusion and has nothing to do with the Baked Sweet Potatoes I’ve dressed up with a bacon vinaigrette and baked shallots. GREG

Baked Sweet Potatoes Dressed Up with Bacon and Shallots

Baked Sweet Potatoes with Shallots and Bacon Vinaigrette

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 4-6Source Adapted from Sam KassPublished
Baked Sweet Potatoes with Shallots and Bacon Vinaigrette

Ingredients

  • 4-6 medium sweet potatoes (scrubbed)
  • 4-6 whole shallots (skin on, root end intact)
  • 6 ounce thick cut bacon slices
  • ¼ cup sherry vinegar
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • coarse sea salt (as needed)

Directions

Heat oven to 400° F. Pierce each sweet potato several times with the tines of a fork. Place the sweet potatoes and whole shallots on a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper. Bake until the potatoes are tender and the shallots skins are very well browned about 45 to 60 minutes, depending on size. The shallots might need to come out of the oven before the potatoes, again depending on size. Use your judgment.

While the potatoes and shallots bake, cut the bacon crosswise into ½-inch pieces. Place them in a large cast iron skillet and place it over medium heat and cook stirring occasionally, until the fat renders and the bacon is brown and crisp. Remove from heat and stir in the vinegar and season with black pepper.

To serve: Make a lengthwise slit in the top of each potato and mash a generous pinch of salt into the flesh with a fork. Spoon on the bacon dressing and squeeze the interior of a shallot (like toothpaste out of the tube) on top of each potato. Discard the browned shallot skins and serve immediately.