Photo by Tara Stevens
Sweet Potato and Escarola Salad
Escarola (frisée in English) comes into season in December and lasts through until the end of February. Xató is the obvious thing to make with it—the salad of bitter leaves, salt cod, anchovies and romesco sauce typical of the regions of the Alt and Baix Penedès and Garraf. In contrast, this recipe is cleansing and a little bit different that also makes good use of the last sweet potatoes of the season. Choose escarola that is bushy with dark outer leaves, fading to yellow inner leaves and a whitish heart, and sweet potatoes (moniato in Catalan) that are firm with a purplish-orange skin.
· 1 head escarola, washed, outer leaves discarded, inner leaves torn into bite sized pieces
· 4 mid-sized moniato, well washed but not peeled, cut into 1 cm rounds
· 2 whole heads of garlic, top end (not the root) sliced off to expose the tops of the cloves
· 4 tbsp pumpkin seeds, toasted
· Olive oil
For the dressing
· 9 tbsp sesame oil
· 3 tbsp dark soy sauce
· 3 tsp runny honey
· 3 tsp Shao Xing rice wine, or lime juice
· 3 spring onions, sliced into thin rounds
· 2 tbsp finely grated ginger
Combine all the ingredients and whisk well so you get a smooth emulsion. Let the flavours develop for at least 10-15 minutes before serving.
Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC. Toss the moniato and garlic in olive oil (I sprinkle with a bit of ground Jamaica Pepper, though it isn’t terribly easy to get here) and roast for 20 minutes or so, until tender and golden. When done, drain the moniato on kitchen paper, and push the garlic cloves out of their casings.
Heap the escarola in a large serving dish (as an optional extra, you can add any soft herbs like basil, coriander, or parsley that you might have kicking around), scatter with moniato slices, garlic cloves and toasted pumpkin seeds. Finally drizzle with the dressing and serve immediately.