Tue Feb 26, 2013
I'm all about the sweet potato in the winter—that savory and sweet flavor, paired with its stomach filling power, is a great comfort in the cold. Sweet potatoes in my house usually take the form of wedges roasted in a hot oven until creamy on the inside and slightly crisp on the outside, but I thought it might be fun to give them the hasselback treatment after first trying out this method on regular spuds. In essence, the results aim for the same textural outcome as with my wedges, so it's bound the be great, right?
With first time success and knowing nothing else, I repeated the hasselback procedure that previously gave me good results. This started with cutting a slice off the bottom of the potato to create an even and stable base. Then the tater was sliced about every 1/8-inch, rested between two chopsticks to prevent from cutting all the way through the potato.
A quick stint the microwave gave the sweet potatoes a kickstart in cooking. There are some people that scoff at this, but I contend it's pretty damn smart. On the grill, without precooking, the potatoes can take over an hour to finish. This means you might reach into into coal refresh territory, which seems overkill for cooking a potato to me. With the microwave start, the potatoes will take half as long to grill and have no real discernible difference in flavor or texture.
As if going Hasselback wasn't enough, I wanted to give the sweet potatoes a little something extra. Rosemary seemed to be a nice compliment, adding an herbal contrast to the sweetness. I took a chance and added garlic as well, not quite sure how it would work, but it seemed like a good idea at the time.
The fanned potatoes were placed on the grill over indirect heat and covered. After being cooked for 15 minutes, I spread the garlic and rosemary mixture over them and continued to let them cook until they were completely soft inside with some browning around the edges.
They looked beautiful coming off the grill and I was sure I had a hit. Looks can be deceiving though, as these became one of the most contentious items I've ever grilled. While the edges were browned, it never crisped, and the potatoes did pick up a fair amount of smoke flavor on the grill. These were not problems for me, but they got a few dings from the wife. Then came the rosemary and garlic, which I also liked, but the wife contended didn't pair well with the sweet potato, knocking these spuds down even further in her mind. All of these quips are easily fixed—cook them in the oven and omit the garlic and rosemary—but if I were making them for myself again, I wouldn't change a thing.
Hasselback Sweet Potatoes with Rosemary and Garlic
- Prep Time:
- 25 Minutes
- Cook Time:
- 30 Minutes
- Total Time:
- 55 Minutes
- 4 servings
- 6 medium cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon olive oil, divided
- 4 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- In a small bowl, mix together garlic, rosemary, and 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Set aside.
- Cut off a thin slice of each potato lengthwise to create a even base for potato to rest on. Slice off ends of each potato. Rest potato between two chopsticks or wooden spoons to act as a stop for the knife and carefully cut vertical slits in each potato about every 1/8-inch.
- Rinse potato under running water, fanning out to rinse inside of cut slits. Place potatoes on a plate and microwave at high for 4 minutes. Flip potatoes over and microwave again for an additional 4 minutes.
- Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and arrange the coals on one side of the charcoal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Brush potatoes with remaining olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Place potatoes on cool side of grill, cover, and cook for 15 minutes.
- Spread garlic and rosemary mixture over top of potatoes, cover, and continue to cook until soft in the center and crisp around the edges, 15-20 minutes more. Remove from grill, let cool for 5 minutes, then serve immediately while still warm.