Salt is a magical ingredient, it enhances flavors and has the ability to draw out water and moisture. “Add it in the right amount, at the right time, in the right form, and your food will be delicious” (Samin Nosrat, Salt Fat Acid Heat).
Cooking with salt is a well-known practice in our family; it is my grandpa’s specialty. As a child, whenever I stepped into my grandparents' kitchen and saw my grandpa with a kitchen towel over his shoulder, I knew that his salted whole chicken would soon be ready. The chicken was so incredibly tender, and the crust was just perfect that you just couldn't stop eating it. No wonder that this was my favorite way to eat chicken as a child!
Many years later, as I was trying to find a way to bake sweet potatoes without using any oil (but still keeping it yummy and flavorable) my grandpa’s trick came to mind.
The layer of dry crusted salt, that is quickly created in the oven, heats the sweet potatoes and extracts their great flavors.
We mostly use this recipe when meal-prepping for the week. The sweet potatoes can be added to salads, pasta or any other cooked dish. For a quick dinner solution, we eat it whole, filled with tahini dressing.
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Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C) and line a Pyrex pan with parchment paper.
Spread the salt on the parchment paper, creating one even layer of salt.
Wash the sweet potatoes and pet them dry. Place the sweet potatoes on top of the salt layer and bake for 50 min - 1 hour.
In the meanwhile, make the tahini dressing: In a medium bowl, mix the tahini, lemon juice, water (add 1 tbsp at a time as you may not need it all) until a smooth light mixture is created. Add the chopped garlic, salt and most of the chopped parsley (saving some for garnish) and mix thoroughly.
Remove the sweet potatoes from the oven. At this point the skin should be separated from the flesh (see photo no. 3 above). If needed, place back in the oven and bake for additional 10 minutes.
Peel the skin off or simply slice open and fill with tahini.
The whole sweet potatoes can be kept in the fridge for 5 days.
The tahini dressing is good for about 3 days when kept refrigerated in an airtight container.