a dish of sticky sweet, marshmallow-topped “candied yams.” Much like the infamous green bean casserole, making it just meant dumping a can of yams into a baking dish, adding sugar, and opening up the marshmallows. I’m sure my mom appreciated how easy it was after spending most of the day cooking the turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and gravy.
But I never liked the marshmallows on top, and the syrupy glaze made them too sweet. Roasting fresh sweet potatoes makes them pillowy soft, and they’re sweet enough without the brown sugar and marshmallows. I wanted to acknowledge the visual appeal of the original orange and white dish, so I created a garlicky yogurt sauce with spicy and sweet flavors that tastes as good as it looks.
For the shopping list
orange-fleshed sweet potatoes*
Greek-style plain yogurt
*Choose sweet potatoes about 2 inches thick and about 4 inches long.
From our shop
$10 - Kahramanmaras - Turkey
* substitute Piment d'Espelette or a similar fruity red chili
From the kitchen
Small Mixing Bowl
those orange chunks under the toasty brown marshmallow topping were really sweet potatoes. Like many American foodways, the story of the tubers’ name can be traced back to slavery. True yams, starchy with a rough, brown exterior, grow in West Africa and are one of the most important crops. Their name likely comes from nyami, nyam, or enyame, literally “to eat” in the region’s languages. New World sweet potatoes became a transfer food, an edible connection to home for enslaved people.
When Louisiana plant breeders developed a new creamier variety of sweet potato in the 1930s they wanted a marketing hook and took the name southern Black cooks had used for years. The USDA let the misnomer slide, only requiring the name yam to be followed by ‘sweet potato.’ Whatever you call them, they’re delicious.
Line a skillet or baking dish with parchment paper. Scrub the sweet potatoes and rub them with 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the baking dish and sprinkle them with the sea salt. Cook in a 400F oven for 45-60 minutes. Remove and let cool slightly
In small bowl combine 1 1/2 cups of yogurt, 1/4 cup of maple syrup, 2 tablespoons of garlic sauce, and 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
Cut a slit along the top of each sweet potato about 1 inch deep. Use a fork to gently spread them open and fluff the cooked interiors. Fill each with 1/4 of yogurt mixture and return to the oven. Cook for about 10-15 minutes or until the top is lightly browned.
It’s easy to eat your greens when they’re swimming in a creamy sauce spiked with the southern Italian salami called 'nduja.