An unusual potato salad, this starts with the homegrown combination of sweet potatoes and ham, and then turns exotic with a sprinkling of curried almonds. We like to perch the whole affair atop a bed of red leaf lettuce, but you can always choose to serve the potato salad without the greens.
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2 pounds sweet potatoes (about 3 large), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons sliced almonds
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1 1/2-pound piece smoked ham, such as Black Forest, diced
3 scallions including green tops, sliced thin
3 tablespoons cider vinegar or red- or white-wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
1 head red leaf lettuce (about 1 pound), torn into bite-size pieces (about 3 quarts)
How to Make It
Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Add the sweet potatoes and boil until just tender, 5 to 10 minutes. Drain the sweet potatoes and transfer them to a large glass or stainless-steel bowl.
In a small frying pan, heat the 1 tablespoon oil over moderate heat until it is hot but not smoking. Add the almonds and curry powder and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the nuts to the bowl with the sweet potatoes and add the ham and scallions.
In a large glass or stainless-steel bowl, whisk the vinegar, salt, and pepper. Add the remaining 2/3 cup oil slowly, whisking. Toss half the dressing into the sweet-potato mixture.
Toss the lettuce into the remaining dressing. Put on plates and top with the potato salad.
Variation The curried nuts and ham make great complements to sweet potatoes, but they're excellent with regular boiling potatoes, too.
The sweetness of the potatoes, the spice of the curry, and the saltiness of the ham all point toward Gewürztraminer as the wine of choice. Try a not-too-dry example from Alsace or Washington State for a match made in heaven.
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