Local Food and Seasonal Ingredients

Baked Yams with Homegrown Cilantro Salad

By Seth Fera-Schanes

I set out to make a dish that accomplished two goals: have an affordable light lunch or dinner starter and use the fresh cilantro I have been growing in my garden.  Check and mate.

Cost cutting is always helpful in the city.  Dining out multiple times a day, multiple times a week impacts the budget.  And when you are in New York and want to reinvest your money on the $12 mojitos Saturday night you look to save money elsewhere.

I went with yams because they are always cheaper than sweet potatoes in the store.  Coming in at $.99 per pound I typically keep a few stocked in my kitchen.

The cilantro was grown by me in my four by four community garden plot.  You can also keep a little herb garden on your window sill or any outdoor patio space (however small that may be.)  The great thing about herb gardens is they are relatively easy to grow, and make your apartment feel a little more homey.  If you are bad at watering, you can also try a succulent garden which is another good apartment option.

Baked Yams With Garden Cilantro Salad

Baked Yams With Garden Cilantro Salad


2-3 large yams
2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1 cup white onion
1 tsp capers
1/2 tsp lemon zest
Truffle salt
Freshly cracked black pepper
Regular salt
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Red wine vinegar

Serving size: 4
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes

Pickled Onions:
Cut onion in half lengthwise and slice paper thin. In a mason jar add equal parts red wine vinegar and water.  Add about 1 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of sugar and some freshly cracked pepper.  Stir to dissolve.  Add onions, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes (while yams are cooking.)

Slice the outside of the yam to form a rectangle and also to remove some peel.  Leave remaining peel.  Cut 1/4 inch pieces (lengthwise.)  Lightly brush both sides with extra virgin olive oil and add truffle salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste.  Place on baking sheet.

Bake in a 375 F degree oven for 15-20 minutes on one side.  Flip and cook for an additional 5 minutes or until fork tender (or slightly brown.)

Remove and allow to cool for about 5-10 minutes to get to room temperature.

Cilantro Salad:
Remove leaves from stem by hand and keep whole (do not chop.)  Add to bowl.  Add 1/2 cup of pickled onions, about 1 tsp capers, and 1 tsp fresh lemon zest.  Lightly drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and a splash of the red wine vinegar pickling marinade.  (For dressing, keep a 3:1 ratio for oil to vinegar.)  Taste and add more vinegar or oil as needed.

Gently fold to incorporate all ingredients in the salad.

To Plate:
Add three slices of yam to a plate and add a generous amount of cilantro salad to the top.  Serve and enjoy.

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