It is a point of aggravation with my wife that I critique the meal as we eat it. This has been made worse by the fact that I often invite my neighbor who is French, and has many years in the food service industry, to try new dishes. We are birds of a feather when it comes to critiquing food and I know I will always get an honest critique from him.
I get an honest critique from my wife as well, only more subtle. If she goes back for seconds then I've done very well. The scale then descends to a clean plate, food left on the plate, and then those miserable failures when we go for a bowl of cereal. It happens.
So, just in time for Thanksgiving I offer to you a recipe I found in the local paper from Nigella Lawson. apparently she is a cooking figure of some reputation. I have not heard of her but am tempted to visit her site and buy her book if this recipe is any indication. Its easy and tastes great and would work as a main meal (we've had it twice already) or as aside dish. (it has been requested for Thanksgiving)
Here it is. I hope you enjoy it. Bon appetite. Oh yeah, the Frenchman liked it too.
note- I use a cast iron skillet and plain old Canola oil. and lots of garlic. Because its whole it does not impart a strong flavor to the dish. Its nicely roasted when its done and you just squeeze it out- yum.
Sweet Potato Supper
2 sweet potatoes (washed and dried but not peeled), each cut into quarters
8 oz. (1 cup) smoked lardons, cubed pancetta or 16 slices smoked bacon (optional) snipped
8 oz. asparagus tips
6 cloves garlic, unpeeled
a few sprigs fresh thyme or 1 tsp. dried thyme
3 Tbsp. cold-pressed canola oil
salad leaves (optional)
salt to taste
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees, Arrange the sweet potato chunks in the pan and then drop in most of the lardons or bacon, followed by the asparagus tips and garlic cloves and, finally, the remaining lardons. Sprinkle with the thyme, pour the oil over, then bake in the oven for 30 minutes, before turning the sweet potatoes over and baking for another 30 minutes. Let everything cool before dividing between 2 plates, strewn with salad leaves if desired. Sprinkle with some salt or chili sauce, or both to taste.