After 36 Thanksgivings on Earth (many of them involving multiple trial runs), I have to say I've had turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing and yams in just about every incarnation you could imagine. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE Thanksgiving. It's still my favorite food holiday and I'm enamored with the idea of giving thanks for the food we eat by preparing it well. But how many ways can you stuff a bird before it starts to feel less like an tribute and more like a tribulation.
So this year, rather than rehashing Thanksgiving classics, I decided to reimagine Thanksgiving, sticking with the ingredients but throwing out any preconceived notions about mahogany skinned roasts, creamy potatoes, and crimson sauces.
It's familiar yet delightfully new, and despite only taking a dozen minutes to throw together, it presents beautifully. Peanut butter, mustard and bacon may all sound like bold ingredients, but the combination just works, and it takes a fair amount of palatal prodding to pick apart the ingredients. The earthy peanut butter, nutty mustard and smoky bacon provide a perfect balance of flavors for the sugary potato, while the mayonnaise helps bind these flavors together without overwhelming the tuber's natural creaminess.
By cutting sweet potatoes into sticks, the salad is not only easy to eat, it makes the sweet potatoes cook much faster. Be careful not to overcook them though, or they'll fall apart when you try and mix them with the dressing. Also, this salad is best warm or at room temperature, any colder and the ingredients seize up turning it into a mouth drying starchfest.
- Add the sliced sweet potatoes to a medium pot of generously salted water. Bring to a boil and cook until the they're are no longer crunchy but are still firm (5-7 minutes).
- Whisk the mayonnaise, peanut butter, mustard and soy sauce together in a medium bowl.
- Fry the bacon until browned but not crispy and drain on paper towels.
- When the sweet potatoes are done, drain them well and add them immediately to the dressing along with the bacon.
- Toss to coat evenly. Serve warm over a bed of greens, or let it cool to room temperature. If you make this in advance, let it come up to room temperature or reheat it slightly as it's not as good chilled.