It feels like eternal winter here lately. Which equates to making ooodles of soups and broths. But I’m afraid my family is not going to stand for another soup night. Salads are much too cold right now, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be warmed up a little. And so that’s what we do, we put our salads into toasty little beds and wrap them in scarfs. Aw. Okay seriously, my other favorite thing to do to salads in the winter-time is cook some of the ingredients and serve it over a bed of greens while hot so that it semi-wilts the greens. Not only will your greens be easier to digest, they will be warming. In Oriental medicine, there are foods that are cooling (most obvious would be cucumbers and celery) and warming foods (sweet potatoes, carrots, yams, kale) and eating with this concept in mind helps us stay strong and healthy. This also goes along with the growing seasons and eating what is in season. Keeping our bodies in sync with our environment is a great way to stay healthy. I sometimes get instagram envy when I see a post from someone living on the west coast, making raw, fresh green drinks and juices…..but for me here in my wool socks and triple layers I just ain’t feelin’ it. Not now. But soon. Right, Father Winter?
This salad has a hint of sunshine and brightness. Ahhh, just hearing the words sunshine and brightness warms me up!
Stephane and I went on a date the other night. We went to a local tapas bar and one of the dishes we ordered was a potato and chorizo dish. While it was warming and the texture was correct, it was lacking in the flavor and spice department. It stuck with me however because it had potential to be a really great dish. Enter sweet potatoes, arugula, and cilantro. And some other things.
Here is the re-creation and in my humble opinion, feel it’s reached it’s proper potential. I used Niman Ranch chorizo which is grass-fed, anti-biotic and nitrate-free, humanely-raised meat which is also perfectly spiced with paprika. I’ve added slow-cooked red peppers that leave behind a flavorful oil. And then there is the creamy-herbed yogurt sauce that has enough garlic to put hairs on your chest, just how I like it.
The sweet potatoes match the spiciness of the chorizo and the arugula offers a peppery bite. You could serve this tapa-style, with other tapa-ish things, or as an appetizer for a dinner party, or a simple lunch or dinner at home.
- 1 large sweet potato, cubed into 1 inch pieces. (washed and peeked)
- 1 small yellow onion, quartered
- 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced and cut into 1 inch pieces
- 5 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
- 1.5 cups of arugula
- 4 Niman Ranch Chorizo, sliced
- 4 sprigs fresh cilantro, stem removed
- Pre-heat oven 350.
- Place sweet potatoes and onions on baking sheet lined with parchment paper
- Drizzle with 2 Tbs olive oil and season with sea salt and pepper.
- Bake for 45 min. or until soft.
- Meanwhile, sautée the red peppers in olive oil on low heat until soft, about 15-20 min.
- Add chorizo and cook until heated through.
- (You should have a fragrant and colorful oil).
- Set aside and reserve oil for drizzling onto salad.
- 3 Tbs Organic whole milk plain yogurt
- 3 Tbs creme fraiche
- 3 large garlic cloves
- handful of fresh cilantro and parsely
- 1 Tbs fresh lemon juice
- Add to blender and blend well.
- Once sweet potatoes are cooked, combine with rest of ingredients while hot in a large bowl.
- Drizzle with yogurt sauce and oil.
- Serve immediately.