Salt Baking Technique #2: Sweet Potatoes

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Before I even had the opportunity to try a salt baking technique with a whole fish, I had bookmarked a recipe for salt baking sweet potatoes from Tim Ferris’ The 4-Hour Chef. I honestly figured if I couldn’t salt bake a fish I might as well salt bake something… why not sweet potatoes?

IMG_5845Then, of course, I had the opportunity to work with a whole fish and try out this technique, but did that deter me? No, I decided to do both! And so I bring you, sweet potatoes baked in a salt crust as a little bonus to this week’s culinary technique.

I’d really never heard of baking anything other than fish in salt so I was super intrigued to try this recipe out — though I’ve since learned you can basically cook anything in salt (beets, chicken, duck — you name it, I’ve seen it!). I may go crazy and try cooking EVERYTHING in salt… Just kidding!

Also, interesting to note – as I am always intrigued by the science behind recipes – every salt baking fish recipe I’ve seen used egg whites as the binding ingredients. Whereas, Ferris’ recipe and others I saw use either water or oil even.  Coincidence?

I covered my potatoes with the salt mixture, but if you are not in the business of wasting a good quantity of kosher salt, you can pack the potatoes around the sides and cover the baking dish with foil to bake alternatively. (But I didn’t mainly because I wanted to chisel my potatoes out… it’s like digging for buried treasure… OK, I’m having way too much fun baking things in salt).

All in all, after succeeding at both this recipe and using this technique with a whole fish, I am confident about my salt baking abilities. It’s a great technique and in both cases produced moist, perfectly seasoned items and it’s a pretty cool way to impress dinner guests!

Salt Baked Sweet Potatoes

Adapted from The 4-Hour Chef

approx. 2-3 cups kosher salt

approx. ½ cup water

2 sweet potatoes

Preheat oven to 475˚ F.

Place salt in a large mixing bowl and add water slowly. Toss the salt with the water until the mixture has the consistency of wet snow.

Make a bed of about 1 inch of salt in the bottom of the cast iron dutch oven. Place sweet potatoes in center and pack remaining salt around them.

Breakfast in Bed(stuy) / Salt Baking Technique #2: Sweet Potatoes

Breakfast in Bed(stuy) / Salt Baking Technique #2: Sweet Potatoes

Bake uncovered for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand for 15 minutes.

Breakfast in Bed(stuy) / Salt Baking Technique #2: Sweet Potatoes

Break the salt crust from the potatoes using a hammer or back edge of a knife. Remove the sweet potatoes from the salt.

Breakfast in Bed(stuy) / Salt Baking Technique #2: Sweet Potatoes

Breakfast in Bed(stuy) / Salt Baking Technique #2: Sweet Potatoes

To serve, cut in half, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper or a little maple syrup.

Breakfast in Bed(stuy) / Salt Baking Technique #2: Sweet Potatoes

Salt Baking Technique #2: Sweet Potatoes
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • approx. 2-3 cups kosher salt
  • approx. ½ cup water
  • 2 sweet potatoes
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 475˚ F.
  2. Place salt in a large mixing bowl and add water slowly. Toss the salt with the water until the mixture has the consistency of wet snow.
  3. Make a bed of about 1 inch of salt in the bottom of the cast iron dutch oven. Place sweet potatoes in center and pack remaining salt around them.
  4. Bake uncovered for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand for 15 minutes.
  5. Break the salt crust from the potatoes using a hammer or back edge of a knife. Remove the sweet potatoes from the salt.
  6. To serve, cut in half, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper or a little maple syrup.
 

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