My daughter started school today, which I guess means summer is officially over, at least in Colorado. Back home in BC, we always started school the Tuesday after Labor Day—a concept that makes sense to me. And because of that, I still refuse to admit summer is over until that first long weekend in September. (I’ve always wondered why schools start their season so much earlier here, so if someone could please enlighten me, that’d be great. It’s been more than 10 years since I’ve lived in Colorado, and I’m equally as dumbfounded now as I was when I first moved here.)
Anyways, enough about my musings—let’s talk yummy food!
I’ve been holding onto this recipe because it seemed like the perfect side dish to complement something meaty, juicy, and charred at your holiday weekend summer-is-over barbecue. And if you’re not having one, you should. Because summer is actually officially over. Also, there’s never a bad reason to barbecue.
I’ve always liked sweet potatoes more than regular potatoes. In addition to being more flavorful, they also contain more nutrition, vitamins, and minerals. The most drastic difference is their vitamin A content—especially the orange-fleshed ones. Sweet potatoes are one of the richest sources of beta-carotene. And, surprisingly, sweet potatoes actually provide a lower glycemic load than white potatoes, especially if they are steamed or boiled, so that’s always a bonus in my book.
I came up with this salad while I was brainstorming over the summer, looking for a unique twist on one of the season’s quintessential side dishes. And I was more pleased with the results than I imagined I would be! Potato salad can often be somewhat of a heavy dish, and I was happily surprised to discover that the sweet potatoes lightened things up quite a lot. The buttermilk serves as a very refreshing dressing, and the faint heat from the smoky chipotle peppers pairs beautifully with the sweet flesh of the potatoes.
I used three types of sweet potatoes for a variety in color, taste, and texture: Hannah sweet potatoes, which have a slightly yellow flesh, a mellow sweet flavor, and a somewhat dry texture; Garnet sweet potatoes, which have a deep orange flesh, caramelized sweet flavor, and a silken texture; and Jewel sweet potatoes, which have a pale orange flesh, slightly sweeter flavor and softer texture than the Hannah varietal. The Jewel variety is the most commonly known in U.S. households. If you are able to get your hands on Japanese sweet potatoes or purple sweet potatoes, you can certainly add those as well.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 30–40 minutes, plus time to chill
2 pounds assorted sweet potatoes, peeled and cut in large, bite-size chunks
4 thick-cut bacon strips
4 eggs, preferably pastured
¾ cup mayonnaise
½ cup buttermilk
¼ cup plain full-fat yogurt
1-2 chipotle peppers in adobo, finely chopped
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 celery stalks, diced
1 scallion bunch, chopped
¼ cup chopped parsley
- Place potatoes in a steamer basket and add about 1½ inches water. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and steam until tender, about 30–40 minutes. Alternately, cook in simmering water until just cooked through. Drain and cool completely before proceeding with recipe.
- Cook bacon on stovetop or in 375°F oven until crisp. Drain and cool, then roughly chop. Set aside.
- In a small pot, cover eggs with cold water. Cover and bring to a boil. Turn off heat and let sit for 9 minutes. Drain and plunge into ice water. Set aside.
- Whisk together mayonnaise, buttermilk, yogurt, chipotle peppers, mustard, and cider vinegar in a small bowl until blended and smooth. Season to your taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- When ready to make the salad: peel shells from the eggs and dice into small pieces. Add to a large bowl along with bacon, cooled sweet potatoes, celery, parsley, and scallion. Add enough dressing to fully coat and toss gently to combine.
- Let rest in fridge for at least 30 minutes, for flavors to meld, longer if possible. Taste and adjust seasonings and add more dressing, if necessary, before serving. Serve chilled.
Image by Briana Goodall.