When we were college juniors, Lara came to visit. I had just moved into my first apartment.
The place was a total gem. There were stains on the carpet. Mint grew on the patio like a bad weed. And, the kitchen had the occasional ant problem.
It’s laughable now, but I was so proud. It was mine.
I cooked us extravagant meals like dry scrambled eggs and rice pilaf from a box. I served enchiladas packed with enough cheese to send a lactose intolerant person to their grave. I baked the heck out of chicken and then smothered it in Bull’s Eye.
(Lara, I am so sorry!)
Thankfully, she doesn’t seem to hold those meals against me.
Even today I subject her to some I-totally-messed-that-up food moments. And for some reason, she keeps letting me use her as my guinea pig.
Perhaps that’s the beauty of being friends for nearly two decades. Because by the time you’ve known each other this long, you can do things like forget to add baking powder to the cake batter and it doesn’t matter.
(Just don’t add cilantro to the salsa. That’d be unforgivable.)
Suffice it to say, Lara came to visit me again – in my brand new stain-, mint- and ant- free apartment. As a total rock star who just landed a new job, she had the entire week off. So we got to have a girl’s lunch. Let’s just say, we didn’t have dry eggs.
This recipe is adapted from one I saw on New York Times Cooking. When I saw it, I tucked it away in my mental pocket. I’ve been holding onto it for a moment when I needed something that’s a little untraditional, but incredibly scrumptious.
I’ve tried a few different variations. The one below is currently my favorite.
Sweet Potato Toasts
Adapted from Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s as seen on New York Times Cooking
2 – 3 small sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced ¼-inch thick.
6 TBS olive oil, divided
½ tsp dried chili flakes (more if desired)
1 tsp salt, divided
2 sweet onions, peeled and thinly sliced.
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
2 TBS maple syrup
Thickly sliced whole wheat bread
½ cup whole milk ricotta
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
Toss sweet potatoes with 3 TBS olive oil, red chili pepper flakes and ½ tsp salt. Arrange on lined baking sheet in a single layer and bake for 30 – 40 minutes, until potatoes are soft.
In a medium fry pan, heat remaining 3 TBS olive oil. Add onions and ½ tsp salt. Saute over medium heat, stirring frequently until onions become translucent (about 10 minutes).
Stir together vinegar and syrup. Add to onions and continue cooking until liquid has reduced.
Remove sweet potatoes from oven and lightly smash with the backside of a fork. Toast bread until just crispy. Smear each piece with ricotta. Top with a few slices of sweet potato and a tablespoon (or two) of onions.
Try not to fight over who gets the last slice.