The flesh of whole roasted sweet potatoes has a natural caramel-y sweetness that lends itself perfectly to dessert. At Mettā in Brooklyn, chef Norberto Piattoni finishes the spuds over the coals, adding another dimension of flavor. Elecampane, an herb from the sunflower family, adds complexity to the whipped cream dolloped over top. Slideshow:More Sweet Potato Recipes
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon elecampane root pieces
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup honey vinegar or rice vinegar
8 (12-ounce) sweet potatoes
8 sweet potato leaves, for garnish (optional)
Bee pollen, for garnish (optional)
How to Make It
Process sugar, elecampane, and salt in a food processor until finely chopped, about 1 minute. Transfer mixture to a bowl; add cream, and stir until sugar dissolves. Cover and refrigerate 2 hours.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350°F. Bring honey to a boil in a small saucepan over medium, and cook until melted and reduced by one-fourth, about 3 minutes. Stir in vinegar; cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture is slightly reduced and syrupy, 3 to 4 minutes. Cool to room temperature, and refrigerate until chilled.
Pour cream mixture through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a bowl. Discard solids. Beat cream with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until soft peaks form, about 3 minutes. Chill until ready to serve.
Arrange sweet potatoes on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake in preheated oven just until fork-tender, 35 to 40 minutes.
While potatoes bake, open bottom and top vents of a charcoal grill completely. Light a charcoal chimney starter filled with briquettes (about 8 1/2 cups of briquettes). When briquettes are covered with gray ash, pour in an even layer on bottom grate of grill. (Internal temperature should be 375°F to 400°F.)
Using tongs, nestle sweet potatoes in coals, and roast until skins are charred and sweet potatoes are cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer to a metal baking sheet, and let stand until cool enough to handle. Brush away ashes with a paper towel. Cut sweet potatoes into 3/4-inch slices and divide among 8 shallow bowls. Dollop 2 tablespoons whipped cream next to sweet potato in each bowl, and drizzle with honey gastrique. Garnish each with a sweet potato leaf and a pinch of bee pollen, if desired.
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