Ways to make sweet potatoes culinary stars on the holiday Side dish: This veggie doesn't have to be coated with marshmallows to please the people at your Thanksgiving table.

November 18, 1998|By KNIGHT RIDDER/TRIBUNE

This Thanksgiving, just say "no" to marshmallows. And give sweet potatoes a chance to shine on the dinner table.

Rescued from their gooey fate, they might just upstage the turkey. They're easy on the cook, delicious and perfect for the season.

Try these cooking methods from the SweetPotato Commission:

* For perfect baked sweet potatoes, rub a little oil over clean and dry sweet potatoes of uniform size. Place on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 40 to 50 minutes, depending on size.

* To microwave, choose uniform sweet potatoes. Wash and pierce with a fork in several places. Cook on high, rotating each potato one-half turn halfway through cooking time (3-4 minutes for 1 medium, 5-6 minutes for 2 medium and 8-9 minutes for 4 medium). Remove from microwave, wrap in foil and let rest at least 5 minutes before serving.

* To make toasted sweet potato chips, scrub and peel potatoes, if desired. Cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Brush each side lightly with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Place the slices on a baking sheet and bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 30 minutes, flipping slices halfway through.

* To french-fry sweet potatoes, boil them for 10 minutes. Peel, if desired, and cut into strips. Heat oil to 365 degrees, and cook strips until golden. Drain, and sprinkle with salt, brown sugar or nutmeg.

* To cook sweet potatoes on the grill, wrap clean, dry sweet potatoes in heavy-duty aluminum foil. Place on grill, 5 inches from coals. Cook for about 45 minutes or until tender. To hasten cooking, boil for 10 minutes before wrapping in foil, and bury sweet potatoes in coals.

Sweet potatoes are fat- and cholesterol-free. A medium baked sweet potato has only 140 calories and contains four times the recommended allowance of beta-carotene, twice the RDA of vitamin A, according to the SweetPotato Commission.

At the market, choose well-shaped, firm sweet potatoes. Avoid any with signs of decay.

According to the SweetPotato Commission, the more deeply colored the sweet potato, the more moist the flesh. Unless you're making something that needs a sturdy potato, moistness is a desirable quality.

TTC Buy only a few sweet potatoes at a time. They don't keep for more than two weeks. For longer life and to preserve their taste, store sweet potatoes in a cool, dry, dark place, but do not refrigerate raw sweet potatoes.

Pub Date: 11/18/98

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