Recipe courtesy of Jerome Grant

Miso Roasted Sweet Potato with Benne Seed Butter and Collard Green Furikake

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Whenever I put a menu together, I always make sure to include sweet potatoes on it in some way, shape or form. Historically, sweet potatoes served as a reminder of home for many Southerns who moved north after the Civil War. They’re rich in nutrients and pair beautifully with ingredients from other cultures. For this roasted sweet potato dish I use homemade furikake and yellow miso paste to bring an earthy umami to balance the potatoes’ sweetness. Japanese furikake is usually made with seaweed, but in this version I use collard greens. Benne seeds, the West African name for sesame seeds, were brought from the Caribbean in the 1700s and used by enslaved Africans to enrich dishes when meat was scarce. The seeds eventually became a Southern staple whose flavor and richness elevated sweet and savory dishes alike. Here the seeds are blended into a tahini-like butter that’s drizzled over the potatoes.
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr 25 min
  • Active: 1 hr
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
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Ingredients

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper.
  2. Rinse the collard greens and thoroughly dry them in a salad spinner or by patting them with a paper towel. Toss the greens with 1 1/2 teaspoons avocado oil and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Lay them in a single layer on one of the prepared sheet pans. Bake until lightly browned and crispy, 15 to 18 minutes. Cool the collards on the sheet pan. Raise the oven temperature to 425 degrees F. 
  3. Heat 1/4 cup avocado oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallot and ginger and cook until they begin to brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the fried shallots and ginger with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel to drain. Add the miso to the skillet and mix it into the infused oil. Remove from the heat.  
  4. Use a pastry brush to coat all sides of the sweet potatoes with the miso-oil mixture. Sprinkle the potatoes with salt and pepper to taste and place on the second prepared sheet pan. Roast until the potatoes are fork-tender, 30 to 40 minutes.
  5. Put the benne seeds in a medium skillet and toast over low heat, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Combine 1 tablespoon of the toasted benne seeds, the red pepper flakes and the fried shallot and ginger in a small bowl. Gently crumble the crispy collard greens into the mixture. 
  6. Blend the remaining toasted benne seeds in a food processor until smooth and runny. Season with salt to taste.  
  7. Transfer the hot roasted sweet potatoes to a serving plate. Drizzle with some of the benne seed butter (store any leftover butter in an airtight glass container). Garnish with the collard green furikake and serve hot. Enjoy! 

Cook’s Note

Rather than just halving the potatoes, you can cut them into different sizes if you prefer; just remember to adjust the roasting time. Can’t find yellow miso? You can substitute white miso. The furikake can be also be made with kale, chard or any other sturdy leafy greens in place of collards. Kick up the flavor of your furikake by adding in umami from mushroom powder or bonito flakes, or add black sesame seeds.

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