the nine days: day 3

If you’re like me, when you realized you needed vegetarian meals for nine days, you went straight to the master himself.

Yotam Ottolenghi.

King of the vegetable. Author of Plenty and Jerusalem, both highly vegetable-forward, and both absolutely delicious. I will admit that I didn’t go to his books first, but I should have. So here we are, on day three, eating a Yotam dish out of his Jerusalem cookbook. I have already made it twice, but not in over a year (totally forgot about its existence – whoops).

Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Fresh Figs

Serves 4

4 small sweet potatoes
5 T olive oil
scant 3 T balsamic vinegar
1.5 T sugar
12 green onions, halved lengthwise and cut into 1.5″ segments
1 red chile, thinly sliced
6 ripe figs
5 oz soft goat’s milk cheese (or possibly feta) (optional)

Preheat oven to 475 degrees.

Wash the sweet potatoes, halve them lengthwise, and then cut each half again similarly into 3 long wedges. Mix with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, 2 teaspoons salt, and some black pepper. Spread the wedges out, skin side down, on a baking sheet and cook for about 25 minutes, until soft but not mushy. [I like to get a little bit of char on the flesh.] Remove from the oven and leave to cool down.

To make the balsamic reduction, place the balsamic vinegar and sugar into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then decrease the heat and simmer for 2-4 minutes, until it thickens. Be sure to remove the pan from the heat when the vinegar is still runnier than honey; it will continue to thicken as it cools. Stir in a drop of water before serving if it does become too thick to drizzle.

Arrange the sweet potatoes on a serving platter. Heat the remaining oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat and add the green onions and chile. Fry for 4-5 minutes, stirring often to make sure not to burn the chile. Spoon the oil, onions, and chile over the sweet potatoes. Dot the figs among the wedges and then drizzle over the balsamic reduction. Serve at room temperature. Crumble the cheese over the top, if using.

***

It says it serves four, but that might be as more of a side dish. I like to top mine with a poached egg and serve it as a main course, especially with all the flavors going on in there. It’s just so good.

Now go buy the book.

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