It’s almost Autumn. The air feels different – wilder, fresher. The trees are getting a golden tinge, glowing in the afternoon sun. Soon you will find brilliant color among the trees – golden yellows, crimson, bright orange and purple.
If you’ve been to a farmer’s market lately, you’ve likely seen these same colors in the vegetable stands: pumpkins and winter squash in rusty oranges and striped yellow-golds. Crispy kale in rich hunter green. Eggplants in shades of aubergine. (Love that word! Btw, the French word for eggplant is “aubergine.”) Sweet potatoes in oranges and whites and purples. Yes, purple sweet potatoes are a thing.
One of my favorite dishes for fall is Sweet Potato Salad. I posted this recipe quite awhile ago, but it bears repeating. The flavor is bright and luscious, the texture is rich and creamy, and the colors are beautiful. And,the dish is easy to make and budget-conscious, even for a large crowd.
I make Sweet Potato Salad at a leisurely pace over a few days. First, I gather some sweet potatoes, either from my CSA farmer, from the farmer’s market, or from a local crop at a store. I love to make my salad multicolored by using three colors of potatoes – a pound of orange Garnet yams, a pound of Japanese whites, and a pound of purples if I can find them. Or I choose all Garnets for the festive bright orange color. I bring the potatoes home and stash them in my pantry, anticipating when, over the next couple of days, I’ll have an hour at home to cook them. In a day or two I’ll scrub them well, coat them with a bit of coconut or avocado oil, and bake them in a 400 degree oven for 40-60 minutes, depending on whether they are small or large. Let them cool, pop them in the fridge. Sometime later, the next day maybe, I’ll pull them out and cut them up. I add some fresh chopped parsley and canned roasted red pepper. Sometimes I add a bit of purple onion. Then, in a pint canning jar I combine the juice of 3 limes (about 6 tablespoons), a minced clove of garlic, 1/2 cup olive oil, some sea salt and freshly ground pepper. I cap the jar and shake well, then pour over the salad. I stir it up a bit while enjoying the brilliant colors, and then return it to the fridge. The salad even likes waiting around – the flavor is always brighter the second day. Serve it to your friends at the next tailgate party. You can find the full recipe here.
Fall is a sensory experience. Pause this time of year to enjoy the extra brightness of the sun, the rich color all around, the heady frisson of the first chill, and flavors that come into their fullness only in Autumn. And while you are at it, join me for my Autumn Feast on October 10th. We’ll have delicious fall fare and wines. Find more information here. Get your ticket early before they are all gone.
Camille Watson is a health educator, speaker and published author of the book Eight Steps to a Real-Foods Kitchen. Her passion is to give individuals and groups the knowledge and tools they need to take back their health. If you are interested in learning more about achieving health through delicious, whole foods and lifestyle transformations, email firstname.lastname@example.org to attend one of her cooking classes or to schedule your free consultation.