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Oven-fried sweet potatoes with homemade ketchup

Serves 4

KETCHUP

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 red onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

8 ripe plum tomatoes, peeled, cored, and finely chopped

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup light or dark brown sugar

1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger

Pinch of ground allspice, to taste

In a heavy-based saucepan, heat the oil. Add the onion and cook over medium heat, stirring often, for 10 minutes. Add the garlic, tomatoes, salt, and pepper. Cook for 1 minute, stirring.

Stir in the vinegar, brown sugar, ginger, and allspice.

Turn the heat to low and cook the mixture for 1 hour or until the tomatoes are soft and the mixture has thickened. If it still seems too thin, continue cooking until it holds its shape. Homemade ketchup will never thicken as much as the commercial variety.

Remove the mixture from the heat and transfer it to a small bowl. Let it cool and use at room temperature, or store in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 1 week.

SWEET POTATOES

4 large sweet potatoes, halved horizontally and cut into 1/4-inch wedges

Olive oil (for drizzling)

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Set the oven at 450 degrees. Place the sweet potato wedges in a large bowl and drizzle them with oil. Toss them with your hands and add more oil until all the wedges are coated. You need very little oil to do this. Place the wedges on a large rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with crushed red pepper, salt, and black pepper.

Transfer the potatoes to the hot oven and roast them for 30 minutes or until they are tender and golden at the edges. Halfway through cooking, use a wide metal spatula to release them from the baking sheet and turn them over. If some break, that's OK.

Serve hot with ketchup for dipping. Sheryl Julian and Julie Riven.

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