Toasting nuts is easy – there is really nuttin’ to it! Have a stovetop? Have a frying pan? You are golden. Simply heat a frying pan over medium high heat until hot, and then add the nuts into the pan. No oil, no water – this is dry fry. Stir them around periodically to avoid burning. Ideally, they should turn golden brown. As long as they are not black, you should be okay. Always keep an eye on your nuts, especially when toasting.
By now, hearing me describe how I ate an entrée sized portion of a side dish should come as no surprise. My theory is that if you can eat enough of a side to satisfy a meal, it’s going to be one hell of a side dish. (My other theory is that meat is expensive, so I’m saving my money for that Friday night rib-eye.) Goat cheese is a lavish splurge, I know. But cream cheese will give you a similarly luscious mouth-feel for half the price. Like creamy velvet, the cream cheese generously coats the sweet potatoes without smothering them. Sprinkling in green onions added a perky, spring-green bite. Toasted nuts developed the texture of each fork-full, as well as adding to the overall richness.
I could eat sweet potatoes three nights a week. Some weeks I do. This recipe is for those of us who love sweet potatoes and are “in-nut to win-nut”.
Sweet Potato and Goat Cheese Hash with Toasted Pecans and Scallions
¼ cup pecans, chopped
2 T canola oil
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into ¼ inch cubes
1 garlic clove, finely diced
½ to 1 cup water
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups fresh spinach
2-3 oz goat cheese, cream cheese, or both
3 T scallions or green onions, sliced
1. Heat an 8 inch frying pan over medium high heat until hot. Add pecans and toast for about 3-4 minutes. Remove from pan; set aside.
2. Turn heat down to medium low, add oil. (Make sure the oil is not smoking – may need to remove pan from heat source for about 30 seconds.)
3. Add sweet potatoes, sauté for about 8-9 minutes.
4. Add garlic, sauté for another 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Add ½ cup of water to the pan and cover. Let potatoes simmer for about 5 more minutes (may need to add more water as they are cooking).
6. Once sweet potatoes are fork tender, add in spinach. Cover pan again and wilt spinach for about 2-3 minutes.
7. Add in goat or cream cheese; gently stir to help melt the cheese.
8. Garnish plate with toasted pecans and green onions.
Makes about 2-3 cups.