As always, I bought a couple of giant sweet potatoes and waited a whole week for creativity to strike. Most of the time, I end up baking my sweet potatoes as wedges and while they are delicious, that’s not a complete meal (far from it). I wondered whether I could still get the gorgeously soft, charred, sweet potato without turning on the stove and, on top of that, get a whole meal out of it. It doesn’t hurt to dream big. I ended up thinking of a sweet potato hash. I figured that I could dice up some sweet potato and red onion, cover them in spices, cook them covered, in a super hot pan and that they would steam and brown at the same time. From there, it could become whatever I wanted. That was where this one pan sweet potato hash and eggs was born.
Potato gnocchi is one of those dishes that can go terribly wrong or perfectly right. It’s something I have tried to make in the past with a few hiccups along the way, but this recipe is something else. After taking a bunch of photos of this dish, hoping I would actually be able to use them, I popped a gnocchi into my mouth and exclaimed “holy shit.” This is what gnocchi should be: fluffy and light pillows of potato, lightly fried so that there is a contrasting crunch of a crispy exterior. Tossed in some butter and parmesan and plenty of herbs, it’s simple enough for the gnocchi to shine through but adds just enough extra flavour and dimension for an admittedly rich but comforting and satisfying meal.
I grew up eating verenikas, a crescent moon shaped pocket of boiled dough, stuffed with creamy potatoes, and topped with sweet caramelized onions and sour cream. Since I left Montreal, I don’t really see them around anywhere. You don’t realize what is special to the place that you live until you leave, and verenikas is definitely one of those things. Also, once I left I became a lot more nostalgic about the food. I don’t imagine regularly buying verenikas if I lived in Montreal, but it’s something I think about now that I don’t. Anyway, now when I come back to Calgary, my suitcase is filled with bagels, cheese bagels (these are next on my list to tackle!) and verenikas. It is not a sustainable model for addressing my food cravings.
A few weeks ago, I made a pretty horrendous dinner. Half of it was literally inedible and the other half was a huge plate of mushy sweet potato wedges. While it was edible, it was not great. The potatoes had gone to mush and were pretty burnt on the outside. Slathered in mayonnaise and ketchup, they were barely passable. That is when I realized that it would be good to have a nice, fail safe recipe for sweet potato wedges in my back pocket, moving forward.