Until recently I have not had much 'experience' with sweet potatoes. In fact, I have never tasted that 'treat' from south of the border the sweet potato casserole with the required topping of marshmallow that I have read about. It's just as well because I know I'd hate it. When it comes to the sweet vs savoury argument I am firmly in the savoury camp (unless, of course, one happens to be debating a dessert then it is sweet all the way baby!!!!!!)
I've had roasted sweet potatoes, sweet potato fries, grilled sweet potatoes, and used them in stews and curries - all of which were wonderful since they weren't cloyingly sweet!
I couldn't decide between sweet potato gnocchi or a sweet potato galette (the layered potato side dish not the free-form French pie variety) for my dish. In the end I went with the galette as I needed a side dish for dinner last night.
I think that this 'flavour' revealed a fundamental flaw in the premise behind the book or perhaps in the strategy behind our blog challenge. Dornenburg and Page asked expert chef's what ingredients/flavours they pair with a particular item, in this case sweet potatoes. The more chefs recommended a particular ingredient the highest its rating on the flavour charts. In this case the highest rated flavours were butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, orange, and sugar - all of which lend themselves to a sweet preparation but not as well to a savoury one. The rules behind the challenge are that we must use one of the bold (capitalized flavours), and one of the bold (non-capitalized) flavours. I didn't want to use any of the top flavours at all. In the end I dumped in a tablespoon of butter (how lame is that) that the dish didn't need in order to follow the rules.
In the end my recipe used the following flavours: butter, olive oil, cheese (fontina), chile pepper, garlic, bitter greens (chard), mushrooms (chanterelle), olive oil, and salt (kosher). My galette was five layers of amazing deliciouness (is that a word? If not I hereby claim it as an official 'Flavors Blog Challenge' adjective!) It worked well as a side dish would have been just as fine as a main dish paired with a salad for a nice light meal.
Sweet Potato Galette with Swiss Chard and Chanterelle Mushrooms
2 tsp olive oil
1 bunch swiss chard, chopped, thick stems removed
1 cup chopped chanterelle mushrooms
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (more if you want more of a 'zip')
salt and pepper
1 T olive oil
1 tsp butter
2 large sweet potatoes, sliced crosswise, 1/16 inch thick
¾ c. grated fontina cheese
1 tsp melted butter
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Heat 2 tsp. oil in a heavy, non-stick, oven-proof skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and pepper flakes and quickly cook (taking care that the garlic doesn't brown) until you can smell the aroma - about 1 minute. Add the chopped chard and mushrooms and sauté until the chard is beginning to wilt and the mushrooms have released their liquid. Remove to a bowl and wipe out the skillet.
Heat 1 T oil and 1 tsp butter in the skillet over medium heat. Arrange slices of sweet potato in a circular pattern in the skillet. Crowd the slices over the whole surface area, overlapping them, as they will shrink up a little when cooked.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Cover the sweet potatoes with the chard/mushroom mixture.
Arrange another layer of sweet potatoes over the chard/mushroom mixture and season with salt and pepper.
Cover this layer of sweet potato slices with the grated fontina cheese.
Arrange the last layer of sweet potatoes on top of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
Press down with a spatula to help mesh the layers.
When the bottom layer of potatoes starts turning golden, drizzle the melted butter over the top and transfer the skillet to the oven.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the galette is tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife.
Place the galette under the broiler for a minute at the end to crisp the top, but be careful not to burn the potatoes.
Let the galette cool in the skillet for 10-15 minutes. Loosen the galette from the pan with a spatula. Fit a plate over the galette, and invert the skillet to release it.
Serve warm or at room temperature.