O, The Oprah magazine cookbook, 304pp.
edited by Amy Gross
Hearst Communications, 2008
Cooking on page 32
I’ve never purchased or, for that matter, read an O, Oprah magazine and I don’t own this book. I checked it out from the local library because the page-32 recipe tempted me.
This collection of recipes comes from her magazine and represents the work of more than 60 chefs from across the USA. I recognised very few of the chef names, which obviously has something to do with me moving away from the states more than 30 years ago.
In thumbing through the book, I was pleased to see no references to processed foods. It’s about fresh ingredients, with liberal use of herbs and spices. While most recipes cater for American tastes, there is a nod to foreign recipes too. There’s even one for our beloved pavlova, which both Australia and New Zealand claim to have created.
Today’s recipe is by Art Smith.
Sweet potato salad
2 large sweet potatoes (about 1 1/4 pounds)
2 Tbsp. light mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
2 large celery stalks, coarsely chopped (about 3/4 cup)
1/2 cup thinly sliced red bell pepper
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh pineapple
1/4 cup pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
1 small green onion, thinly slices (about 2 Tbsp.)
chopped chives, for garnish
Using a fork, prick the sweet potatoes in several places. Microwave them on High about 8 minutes, or until tender, turning over midway through cooking. Cool the potatoes until easy to handle. Peel off the skin and cut into 3/4-inch chunks.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix the mayonnaise, mustard, salt and peppe until blended.
Add the sweet potato chunks, celery, red pepper, pineapple, pecans and green onion to the mayonnaise mixture. Toss gently until evenly coated. Sprinkle with the chopped chives.
Makes 4 cups.
How it played out
I made this pretty much as written, using my homemade mayonnaise. My only real change was to use walnuts in place of pecans because cupboard moths attacked my pecans while I was away in South America (I forgot to store them—the pecans, not the moths—in the freezer).
Eight minutes was too long for my sweet potatoes and they turned out too soft to hold their shape nicely, which meant my version of the salad wasn’t as beautiful as it could have been.
Also, friends have complained that the pineapples haven’t been great lately and I have to agree. The one I bought had a soapy flavour. I reckon you could skip the pineapple and not greatly affect the taste.
Overall the salad has a lovely flavour and would be a colourful and healthy addition to a barbecue or buffet table. Certainly worth making regularly.
Also, be sure to check out my travel blog, Where to Next!