Recently I attended a Barbeque, most of the side dishes were picnic style- Coleslaw and Classic Potato Salad with Desserts to die for, however one lady who knows how much Southerners love to eat Barbeque with Spicy Greens, Cornbread, Fried Okra, Baby Limas and Sweet Potatoes; brought a wonderful Classic Sweet Potato Casserole with brown sugar, butter and pecans as a thick crunchy topping, oh my! It was wonderful! I started thinking about how good sweet potatoes are with barbeque but also how I had never seen a recipe for Southern Sweet Potato Salad– now, I know recipes are out there but not with completely Southern ingredients! So what you see is rare, here at Camellia’s Cottage, we don’t mess with perfection- we love our classic recipes, we want to preserve the traditions! Yet, I could not stop thinking that a chilled Sweet Potato Salad could be Devised, Concocted or Dreamed Up. The Pecan Topped Sweet Potato Casserole was my inspiration. (please don’t say – pee-can, we say Pa-cahn) I began a list of ingredients that are often paired with Sweet Potatoes.
- My grandmother loved to squeeze fresh Orange juice and a bit of pulp into hot buttered mashed Sweet Potatoes. Then she scooped out and filled the Orange Shells with the Sweet potatoes for a wonderfully fragrant side dish. Citrus is a very Southern ingredient!
- Of course, Pecans are as Southern as can be.
- Celery is added to so many Southern Salads, and often include the Tops for crisp crunchy texture.
- And finally because of our proximity to the Caribbean, Pineapple is often used in Southern cooking, particularly salads and desserts. in fact it is not unusual to find Pineapple incorporated into a Sweet Potato Casserole.
An idea for a Southern Sweet Potato Salad was Dreamed up, Devised and Concocted.. Southern Sweet Potato Salad
- Preheat oven to 375º
- Partially bake or boil one large Sweet Potato. Cut in Cubes, do not peel.
- Rough chop 1 cup of Pecans.
- On a parchment lined baking pan, mix cubed Sweet Potato and Pecans.
- In a small bowl, combine 3 tbs. of Sugar, 1/3 cup of Brown Sugar, a pinch of salt, 1 teaspoons of cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper. Toss sweet potato and pecans with the sugar mixture.
- Pour 3/4 cup of melted butter over all and spread in a single layer on parchment- Roast this until sugar mixture has caramelized. About 12 minutes.
While the sweet potatoes are roasting, make the Salad Dressing.
- Combine the zest and juice of one Lime, 1/3 cup of Orange Marmalade, 1 tablespoon of local Honey, 1/4 teaspoon of Cinnamon, pinch of Cayenne Pepper and 1 teaspoon of Apple Cider Vinegar. * This is my all purpose Fruit Salad Dressing and is equally good drizzled over seasonal fruits like strawberries, blackberries and blueberries.
Now, chop one stalk of Celery including Tops. Cut up 3/4 cup or more of fresh Pineapple and 3/4 cup of diced unpeeled Tart Apple. Put Salad Dressing in a large bowl, toss to coat- Celery, Pineapple and Tart Apple. When the Sweet Potatoes and Pecans have roasted, carefully incorporate into the Salad Dressing, Celery, Pineapple. Be sure to include the buttery juices. Southern Sweet Potato Salad is good room temperature or chilled.
Okay y’all, I am going to tell you that my picky Test Taster loved this Southern Sweet Potato Salad with Fried Pork Chops! Now, I will admit this Salad will never reach the heights of glory our Southern Potato Salad has with old and classic recipes. Southern Sweet Potato Salad is certainly unconventional, though it is dependent entirely on Southern Soul Food ingredients, so… it might just end up becoming a new favorite here at Camellia’s Cottage! Let me know if you try it!
Love y’all, Camellia
*The results of our Biscuit Research is forthcoming soon! Stay tuned…