As featured in Bay Area Bites, October 14, 2009.
Turkey season is upon us, and for me, that means sweet potato season! I love sweet potato in pretty much any form — baked, fried, pie’d — but in this gratin form, it is savory-sweet bliss at its finest.
I first discovered this recipe years ago at a potluck in Brooklyn (thanks, Heidi, for sharing). I’ve since made it every Thanksgiving. It is the perfect sweet potato side dish for your table. Yes, this means your aunt can stop bringing those awful candied yams with marshmallows on top. Ickk.
The prep is the most tedious part of this dish, but it can be made a breeze if you have a good mandolin or food processor with a slicing attachment. If you are going the old fashioned knife route, I find it easier to nuke the potato just a minute or so to soften it before attempting to cut into thin slices. Don’t worry if your slices are not perfect, they will be covered with delicious crunchy topping anyway.
Back to the savory-sweet bliss part. If you’re always walking the line between salty and sweet, meet in the middle au gratin, and come with a big serving spoon. The earthy sweetness of the potato anchors this dish, while savory sweet onions add an aromatic dimension. The thyme complements the sweet potato well without overpowering it with herby-ness. Heavy cream and butter make this a holiday dish (don’t skimp, it’s worth it). And, the topping, mmm…extra crunchiness from the panko offsets the soft texture of the gratin, Parmigiano brings even more buttery, savory, goodness into the picture, and pecans top it all off with toasted nuttiness, tinged with a sweet maple flavor.
Make this dish ahead of time to save on holiday stress. Simply prepare it up to the topping part. That way, come meal time, all you have to do is sprinkle the topping, drizzle with olive oil, and pop it in the oven until heated through and golden on top.
Leaves you more time to figure out what to do with Aunt Ro’s marshmallows.
The perfect combo of savory/sweet, this Sweet Potato Gratin is one of my all-time faves.
Recipe Source: LickMySpoon.com.
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