Sunday, November 23, 2014

Baked Sweet Potatoes with Marinated Feta and Black Olives

Walk into any grocery store this time of year and you'll be greeted with larger than life displays of sweet potatoes. You know what I'm talking about. A huge table with hundreds of sweet potatoes rocketing out of buckets, baskets, and/or barrels.  This avalanche of sweet potatoes explodes downward onto the table towards all the typical sweet potato accompaniments (brown sugar, marshmallows, marshmallow fluff, pecans, and jars of cinnamon).  Now I won't argue that these ingredients aren't delicious on a sweet potato but I will argue that sweet potatoes can be so much more than sweet. They can be just as wonderful served savory.

So now that we're thinking outside the box, let's bake our sweet potatoes and top them with some savory Mediterranean inspired ingredients.  Tangy crumbles of feta cheese mixed with a combination of rich salty olives and a spicy red chile marinating in a mixture of extra virgin olive oil, garlic, and fennel and coriander seeds.  It's one colorful combination that delivers a unique flavor sensation.  The sweetness of the potato is a nice contrast to the bright flavor of the salty olives, the tangy feta cheese, and the hint of spice from the red hot chile.  It's a complex dish that delivers sweet, salty, savory, and spicy. Save the brown sugar and marshmallows for dessert.  Trust me.

Baked Sweet Potatoes with Marinated Feta and Black Olives
Adapted from Crazy Water Pickled Lemons
By Diana Henry
Serves 4

For The Sweet Potatoes
4 medium sweet potatoes
a little olive oil
black pepper
handful of cilantro, roughly chopped

For the Marinated Feta
7 ounces of feta cheese, roughly broken up
4 ounces of kalamata olives
1/2 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 medium red hot chili, deseded and cut into slivers
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 teaspoon coriander seeds, crushed
extra virgin olive oil

Make the marinated feta mixture first so the flavors have time to meld.  Combine the feta, olives, fennel seeds, chili, garlic, coriander seeds in a small bowl.  Drizzle feta mixture with enough extra virgin olive oil to moisten it.  Cover and store this mixture in a cool place while the potatoes bake to allow the flavors to meld.

Bake the sweet potatoes in their skins in an oven preheated to 350F.  They should be just tender, which will take about 50 minutes, but do check with a skewer - it really depends upon the size of your potatoes.

When the potatoes are cooked, split them open lengthwise, like you would a baked potato.  Sprinkle with a little oil and freshly ground black pepper, and fill with the marinated feta.  Sprinkle each potato with roughly chopped cilantro and serve.

Theme: Sweet Cloves and Liquid Gold


  1. This is totally outside the box! Love, love it.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your Family.


  2. This looks really delicious! I love sweet potatoes and making it in a savoury dish with feta and those lovely spices and herbs, sounds really good! A delicious choice for this week's theme!

  3. I have sweet potatoes! This looks like exactly what I want for lunch.

  4. These toppings sound fantastic with sweet potato (which I prefer savoury - I've actually never had them with sugar and marshmallows!)

  5. Perfect--I am learning to love sweet potatoes more and find that the more savory I can make them the better. I love the idea of the preserved feta with them. Yum! ;-)

  6. In my part of the world, we only ever eat sweet potato as a savoury ingredient, so I love the idea of mixing it up with ingredients such as feta and black olives. I would adore every mouthful of this. Funny how the idea of sweet potato with brown sugar and marshmallows is just unimaginable to me - got to admit the thought of all that sweetness skeeves me out a little bit :-)

  7. I love my sweet potatoes sweet, but I also love them salty and savory. This sounds fabulous!


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