Thursday, February 25, 2010

Deviled Sweet Potatoes with Garlic-Parsley Pesto

I am very exciting to be participating in Beet n Squash You month hosted by She Simmers and Gourmet Fury. Monthly events like vegetable challenges and book clubs excite me (though book clubs seem hard to come by and I'm not one for really going out and... mingling. I have very fierce group loyalties. I'm like a good guard dog, really.). Luckily, Beet n Squash You exists for extroverted-internet-introverts like me!

This month's vegetable is sweet potatoes, a vegetable I don't really cook with that often because... well, because I didn't really know what to do with them besides mash them and cover them in marshmallows. That is, until I had some incentive to think creatively about sweet potatoes. I also had to think creatively about what I had in the fridge to use because I am on a budget. I had a lot of eggs left and I realized that sweet potatoes would mix fabulously with deviled eggs


The sweetness of the potatoes, I thought, would be a perfect pairing for the smooth, mild spiciness of the deviled egg mixture. 
I also make a really mean deviled egg, if I do say so myself.

I decided to roast the sweet potatoes instead of just boiling them to really maximize on their flavor. I parboiled them first so they wouldn't need to spend an hour in the oven. I brought them to a boil in a big pot of cold salted water.

By parboiled I mean I overcooked them just a little, but for this recipe, it didn't really make a difference. Start checking them for fork-tenderness once the water begins to boil because they get soft fast.

No worries, though! I tossed them with olive oil, salt, and pepper. I used a rubber spatula so they wouldn't get completely destroyed - though, in hindsight, they are getting mashed, so it wouldn't really have made a difference.

I baked them for about 20 minutes in a 400 degree F oven on a rimmed baking sheet. Stir them a couple of times to make sure they bake evenly.

I actually hard boiled my eggs before I made the potatoes so they would have plenty of times to cool. Bring the eggs to a boil in a lot of water. A soon as the water boils, take them off the heat and cover them for ten minutes. Then dunk them in really cold water for five minutes (normal people have ice trays, I don't, so we never have ice... I need to stop cheaping out just a tad) and you have perfect hard boiled eggs. In fact, the yokes might be a little under done... just a little soft in the center. I think this enhances the deviled eggs, making the final mixture extra creamy.

While the potatoes were in the oven, I whipped up the pesto. Very easy. A lot of extra-virgin olive oil, a lot of parsley, and a lot of garlic and onion. I sauteed the onion and garlic first because I wanted the sweetness of sauteed onion and I wanted the garlic to cook a bit because it would have way too much bite if I had left it raw. It was intensely garlicky anyway, if I had left it raw it would have been inedible. Reduce the garlic by at least two cloves if you want a more mild flavor. I really wanted the spice to be paired with the sweetness of the eggs.

I'm very excited to have this KitchenAid 5-Speed blender, a birthday gift from my parents. It's awesome.

Puree the mixture until it's mostly smooth. Then add (a lot) of salt to taste. It really needs the salt, it brightens up the parsley and garlic flavors. When you taste it without the salt, the parsley is a little overwhelmed by the garlic. After adding salt, the parsley stands out more and the garlic is tamed a little. Next time I would use a bigger bunch of parsley. Buy the biggest bunch you can find. You'll use all of it in one shot, anyway.

Then I mashed up my deviled egg mixture: egg yolks, sweet potatoes, mayo, dijon mustard, paprika, and salt. Very simple. Very delicious. (I forgot to take a picture of the mixture before plating it because I was running out of time before going to work. It would have just been a big bowl of mashed orange.)

Because I was adding to the yoke mixture, I figured I would change up the plating technique a bit since I would have had very stuffed egg halves had I used the traditional method. This wouldn't have been bad, but I wanted to change it up a bit. I used my egg slicer to slice the eggs and make rounds out of the whites. I just popped the yolks out with my fingers.

I tried to use these plastic icing tips I had, but the mixture must have been too thick for it because I was really difficult to squeeze. Then I wound up putting my finger through the freezer bag I was using. I wound up using that whole to pipe my mixture through. So it's not as pretty as it could have been (it was supposed to go through the x-shaped icing tip and be all perfect), but it was delicious.

And I accidentally made it egg-shaped! Cute!

Makes about 12 appetizer portions

 6 Hard boiled eggs (see above for an example, or use your own method)
1 large sweet potato (or two smaller ones); peeled and cut into small chunks
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup plus 1 tsp. mayonaisse
1 Tbs Dijon mustard
1 tsp. paprika (plus extra for garnish)

(Makes enough for leftovers over pasta the next day. Keep refrigerated and heat in a small saucepan to serve.)
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 bunch parsley - coarsely chopped
1 Tbs olive oil
1/2 onion - diced
6 big cloves garlic (8 small cloves) - minced or pressed
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F with rack in the middle.
  • Place sweet potato chunks in a big pot of cold salted water. Bring to a boil and drain when potatoes are just fork-tender.
  • Toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper. 
  • Spread evenly on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes. Stir once or twice to ensure even cooking.
  • Remove from oven and let cool while you prepare the pesto.
  • In a large bowl, combine egg yolks and sweet potatoes. Mash with a potato masher until well combined. (You could use a blender or food processor if you wanted.)
  • With a fork stir in the mayo, Dijon mustard, paprika, and salt.
  • Heat 1 Tbs olive oil in a medium pan.
  • Add onions and some salt. Saute until golden brown.
  • Add the garlic and stir for 30 seconds.
  • Remove from pan and allow to cool for a few minutes.
  • Add extra-virgin olive oil, parsley, and onion and garlic mixture to a blender. Puree until almost smooth.
To serve: Arrange a layer of egg whites on a serving plate around some of the pesto; pipe filling on top of them; arrange another layer of egg whites on top of the filling; pipe the filling into only the circles of the egg whites on top to create little peaks. Sprinkle with paprika.


  1. Wow, I'm intrigued. I love sweet potatoes and I love deviled eggs - I would never have thought to put the two together but it looks (and sounds) terrific.

  2. Yum! I love me some devilish egg, and I'm looking forward to trying this version of 'em.

  3. yum! I'm mostly indifferent to sweet potatoes. They don't do anything for me, but this sounds awesome. And the pesto pairing..., even if I don't do the deviled part, I bet the potatoes are super delicious with it. Great job.
    PS: i have blender envy.

  4. They are! The day after I made this I mixed some left over sweet potatoes in couscous with the pesto and it was awesome.

  5. Liz, these look delicious. Two of my favorite things combined. What a great holiday appetizer.