My early encounters with sweet potatoes were of the Thanksgiving variety – candied from a can and topped with marshmallows and tooth-achingly sweet. I was not a big fan. I wanted dessert for dessert, and not for dinner, and if I was going to have dessert, I wanted it to be something good, like chocolate, or at least pumpkin pie.
It wasn’t until I was all grown up and had my own kitchen that I discovered the myriad and delicious uses to which sweet potatoes could be put. (And when I say sweet potatoes, to be clear, I mean thin reddish skin, orange flesh. Sometimes called yams. To be distinguished from the white fleshed sweet potatoes you find in Japan and the Caribbean, and “true yams”). Baked with a little butter and salt, mashed with garlic, or cut into French fries, sweet potatoes offered that lovely caramel sweetness that stands up so well to savoury applications. (I’m still no fan of the sweet with sweet. Unless you are talking about sweet potato pie, which is properly served as a dessert, or the sweet potato cake served up by my husband’s Southern grandmother. My contribution to Thanksgiving is a spicy sweet potato gratin. My grandmother has a conniption about the departure from tradition and then eats it with gusto.)
This lasagna takes the noble sweet potato out of the category of “side dishes” and into the main course, where it rightfully belongs. The goat cheese and basil add a little piquancy to counter the mellowness of the sweet potato flavor, and the mushrooms add an extra oomph of umami. It’s very easy and quick to put together, although it does require some time in the oven. Total prep is about 20 minutes though, excluding cook time.
Continue reading Savoury Sweets — Sweet Potato and Mushroom Lasagna