Jan Norris: Food and Florida

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Moose on Fire: Sweet Potato Salad A Kick – Not Just a Sidekick

June 20th, 2009 · No Comments

By Debbie Moose, columnist

Debbie Moose

Debbie Moose

Potato salad is often content to sit on the sidelines, cooling its heels beside the hot action going on at the grill. And if you’re the main cook – which I am in my house – preparing potato salad the traditional way means you have to fuss in the kitchen, boiling potatoes, peeling and such. B-o-r-ing. What I really want is to be at the grill, where the fun is.

When I began writing about potato salad, I was determined to find a way to bring potato salad to the grill, to make it a dish for us fans of the fire.

The answer: Grill the potatoes.

I love sweet potatoes, and they have the added advantage of being a little more moist than white potatoes. I cut them in slices and cook on the grill, rubbed with olive oil, using a perforated grill pan. Then I combine them with other vegetables (grilled or not) and a vinaigrette dressing. The smokiness of grilling meshes with the sweetness of the potatoes, making a side dish perfect for any meats or seafood.

This recipe is from my new cookbook, Potato Salad: 65 Recipes from Classic to Cool, (John Wiley & Sons, $16.95).

Grilled Sweet Potato Salad with Chipotle Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce plus 1/2 teaspoon of adobo sauce
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 3/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Place the orange juice, chipotle pepper, adobo sauce, olive oil, lime juice, garlic and salt in a food processor or blender. Process for a few minutes, until the chipotle pepper is pureed and the mixture is smooth. Set aside.

Prepare a gas or charcoal grill for direct cooking at medium heat. Spray the grill or grill pan with non-stick cooking spray before heating it. Place the slices of sweet potato on the grill and cook for 20 to 30 minutes, turning frequently, until the slices are tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife.

Place the potatoes and onion in a large bowl. Pour in the chipotle vinaigrette and gently toss. Add the cilantro and gently toss. Let sit 30 minutes and serve, or cover and refrigerate overnight, then bring to room temperature before serving.

Serves 6

Hot Tip of the Week: If vegetables or meats aren’t quite done through but you’re afraid their exteriors might burn, remove them from the grill and simply pop them in the microwave for a few seconds to finish cooking. They’ll still have that great grilled flavor.


Debbie Moose, a food writer and cookbook author from Raleigh, NC, writes twice a month here about cooking outdoors. Check out her cookbooks: Potato Salad: 65 Recipes from Classic to Cool; Wings: More Than 50 High-Flying Recipes for America’s Favorite Snack; Fan Fare: A Playbook of Great Recipes for Tailgating or Watching the Game at Home; and Deviled Eggs: 50 Recipes from Simple to Sassy. Find out what else Debbie is cooking on her blog, Moose Munchies, at her web site, debbiemoose.com.

Tags: Moose on Fire: A Gal and a Grill

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