Saturday, April 4, 2009

Kumara Wedges with Pesto Mayonnaise

These are delicious, quick and very easy. I gave this recipe a 10/10. I found it in 'The Australian Women's Weekly Cookbook For All Seasons' (p19). I write a score out of ten next to all the recipes I make out of my cookbooks, well they are my cookbooks and I'll write in them if I want to. I also write how I think the recipe could be improved next time I make it or, in fact, if I would ever bother to make it again. I have quite a few recipes that have scored six or less and I have very clearly indicated never to make them again. It is very easy to be wooed by a delicious looking picture in a shmicko recipe book only to find the reality of the end product was not worth your time to make it or the cost of the ingredients.

6 or below - I wouldn't waste my time to make it again
7 - I would make it again but only if I thought I could tweak the recipe enough to improve it. I would only give a recipe like this one more chance and if it didn't work the second time I would not bother to make it again.
8- these recipes are tasty
9- these recipes are very tasty
10- these recipes work everytime and could not be improved in anyway; delicious

Kumara Wedges

2 large, approximately one kilogram, kumaras/sweet potatoes
1/2 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons ground black pepper

Peel and slice the kumara into wedges about 2x8cm. I sliced mine a bit thin and they cooked down too much to be used as wedges for dipping so I just gave people a plate and fork, problem solved. Place the kumara on a baking tray in a single layer and coat it in olive oil and black pepper. I used ground black pepper as I didn't know if our guests liked hot and spicy food but if we were just making this for ourselves I think using coarsely ground black pepper would be very nice, with the different sized chunks of pepper resulting in the occasional rather hot bit. I do not think white pepper would give the same depth of flavour.

Bake the kumara in a very hot oven (240*C) for about 20 minutes or until they are slightly browned and tender. They are served with a pesto mayonnaise.

Pesto Mayonnaise

1/2 cup firmly packed basil leaves
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise

Blend the basil, garlic, oil and parmesan until it makes a smooth paste and then stir it through the mayonnaise. Do not use a cheap or low fat mayonnaise for this recipe. Try to find a whole egg mayonnaise or very creamy mayonnaise; I used Hellmann's.

The wedges are best made just before serving. Serve them when they are warm rather than steaming hot straight from the oven. The mayonnaise can be made one to two hours before serving. I do not like 'cooking' food when the guests have arrived. I try to have everything ready so I just need to dress the salad or pop something in the oven as opposed to standing at the stove missing out on all the conversation. These are a lovely starter as you can place them in the oven so they come out of the oven just as the guests walk through the door, then while you are organising drinks they will have cooled enough to be ready to serve.

Important tip: Cut your wedges generously or they will not be able to be picked up and dipped. I suggest you make cut some up for dinner one night so you can get the cooking time and thickness needed correct. I wish I had done this but once again I cooked something new for guests I had never cooked before. Would it work? Would it be tasty? Nothing like a little pressure.

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