In the depths of winter, it can be a challenge to find fresh, vibrant looking ingredients to make a meal out of. With just a few local farms cutting overwintered greens from their greenhouses, green vegetable consumption nearly drops off the map. But to my surprise, even with multiple snow storms tapping down on the midcoast of Maine, some gorgeous spinach happened to find its way into our local coop. With a big smile on my face, I quickly filled up a bag, excited to take it home and add it to a meal.
As I turned to toss the spinach in my cart I caught sight of some chunky purple sweet potatoes. I immediately thought of an African themed side dish that would feature my batch of Preserved Lemons that I've been waiting to use.
Roasted Sweet Potatoes w/ Spinach + Preserved Lemon
- 4 large purple sweet potatoes (use whatever variety is available)
- 1/4 cup of melted ghee or olive oil
- 2 handfuls of spinach, stems removed if necessary
- 2 tablespoons minced preserve lemon peel
- 2 teaspoons whole cumin seeds
- a few sprinkles of sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Scoop out the interior of the preserved lemon, keeping just the rind then mince. Place in a bowl, set aside.
- Peel the sweet potatoes then slice into about 1/4 inch "coins". When your done cutting, transfer the potatoes over to a large mixing bowl.
3. Toss the sweet potatoes with the cumin, sea salt, and 2 tablespoons of the melted ghee or olive oil. Mix well. Spread onto a baking dish then roast in the oven for about 20 minutes. Once cooked through, remove from the oven and all to cool to room temperature.
4. Prepare the spinach, by first removing the stems. Then melt a few more tablespoons of ghee to a large sauce pan over medium heat. Add the spinach and use a pair of tongs to toss the spinach as it wilts. Once totally wilted, stir in the lemon and season with sea salt.
5. Move the spinach over to the bowl with the sweet potatoes then gently toss to combine. Taste, season, then serve as is or with baked chicken or roasted fish.