Some mysterious purple sweet potatoes or yams were included in our CSA share last week. They were given to Susan (the CSA farmer) by a Vietnamese woman who said they were "Asian sweet potatoes". However, some people had cooked them and said they didn't like them much, that they weren't very sweet potato like.
Here in the south, the terms "yams" and "sweet potatoes" are used interchangeably -- however, though the tubers appear somewhat similar, they are from completely different botanical families. Sweet potatoes are in the morning glory family, and are typically bright orange and sweet. Yams are in a different family, come in a number of different colors, and are generally more starchy and less sweet. Besides orange and yellow yams, there are purple skinned purple flesh yams, and purple skinned white flesh yams. The purple yams seem to be Asian -- from Korea, Philippines, and Vietnam -- from what I could find out. So I decided to fix them in a somewhat Asian way.
I didn't think to take a picture (or make a post) until after I had peeled them, but this is what the peels looked like -- the skin was a kind of pinkish purple.
I cut the tubers into planks, kind of like large french fries.
I put them in a 9x13 pan, along with a sliced up red onion and some small whole sweet peppers and tossed it all with some coconut oil, salt and pepper and roasted it in a 400 degree oven for about 40 minutes. Then I drizzled on some chipotle raspberry sauce from Costco, and some chopped basil, cilantro, and parsley from my herb garden and roasted it for another 5 or so minutes. Delicious!
The taste and texture of these what I believe to be yams, rather than sweet potatoes, was much like roasted parsnips. If these grow well here in zone 7b, that would be great -- because it is very difficult to grow parsnips here, and they are always very expensive in the grocery stores.
That night I also made a zucchini carbonara -- thinly, wide sliced strips of zucchini, lightly sauteed in olive oil with some garlic, with a carbonara sauce of eggs, beaten with parmesan and lots of pepper, and crumbled bacon added at the end.