Vietnamese

We absolutely love Vietnamese food, so it’s no surprise that we are loving our Vietnamese Home Cooking book by Charles Phan. Lots of stuff looks pretty complicated but so far the effort has been well worth it. This was a tasty new way to eat sweet potatoes. Many steps, and it certainly would have been easier (and tastier) with a real grill instead of a grill pan, but the end result was delicious. (And the sizzling scallion oil was super cool.) Not that I have any business saying this, but perhaps an easier variation could be roasting the sweet potatoes and then tossing with the scallion oil, cilantro, and lime?

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Grilled Sweet Potatoes with Cilantro, Scallions, and Lime (Charles Phan)

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled, cut in half lengthwise and sliced on the bias into 1/2-inch thick slices
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup scallion oil (see below)
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • Zest from 3 limes

Preparation

1. Fill a large wok or stockpot with water. Place a three-layer bamboo steamer in the wok or over the top of the pot, taking care that the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the steamer. Bring the water to a boil.

2. Arrange the sweet potatoes in a single layer on each layer of the bamboo steamer. Cover and steam 5 to 6 minutes, until the sweet potatoes are just tender. Transfer to a sheet pan, drizzle with oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

3. Prepare a medium-hot fire for direct-heat grilling in a charcoal grill (you should be able to hold your hand 1 inch above the grate only 3 to 4 seconds). Put the sweet potatoes on the grate and grill, turning once, about 4 to 5 minutes per side, until they are a deep golden brown.

4. Transfer the sweet potatoes to a large mixing bowl. Add the scallion oil, cilantro, and lime zest. Toss well to coat and season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

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Scallion Oil

Ingredients

  • 1 cup thinly sliced scallions, green part only
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup canola oil

Preparation

In a heatproof bowl, combine the scallions, sugar, and salt. In a small saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat until shimmering but not smoking. Pour the oil over the scallions; it will sizzle vigorously. Stir gently, then let cool. If not using right away, cover and refrigerate. The oil will keep for up to 1 day.

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