Our cookbook of the week is Matty Matheson: Home Style Cookery by Matty Matheson. Over the next three days, we’ll feature more recipes from the book and an interview with the author.
Matty Matheson’s warm maple vinaigrette lights up his Waldorf-inspired salad. If you’re someone who routinely has whole-roasted sweet potatoes at the ready in the fridge, it comes together in minutes. If not, plan ahead and you’ll be rewarded with a warming, immensely satisfying fall meal.
“(My wife) Trish loves roasting whole sweet potatoes and putting them in the fridge, and then having whole-roasted sweet potatoes,” says Matheson. “And one day I thought, ‘Man, I’m going to mash it up and make a salad out of it.’ And instead of whatever’s in the original Waldorf salad, why don’t I get a little funky with it?”
Typically made with apples, celery, grapes, walnuts and mayonnaise, he takes the Waldorf in an entirely different direction with its sweet potato base, toasted bread crumbs, blue cheese, fresh tarragon and nutty, brown butter vinaigrette.
“You can paint any vegetable with any paintbrush and just use different aspects. The sweetness of the sweet potato and the texture of that, and then you get the pop and the crispness of that grape. And the blue cheese works really well with the sweetness. And the brown butter, and the maple,” says Matheson. “It’s one of those things that somehow worked out in my brain, and it worked out on the plate.”
WALDORF SWEET POTATO SALAD
Prep time: 1 hour and 10 minutes
1 lb (450 g) sweet potatoes or yams
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 cup (30 g) coarse bread crumbs
1/4 cup (60 g) butter
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp sea salt, plus more for finishing
2/3 cup (150 g) crumbled blue cheese (Roquefort)
2/3 cup (100 g) white grapes, sliced
1/4 cup (25 g) tarragon leaves
1 tsp cracked black pepper
Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
Scrub the sweet potatoes well and pat them dry with a dish towel. Place each sweet potato in a foil square and drizzle with vegetable oil. Using your hands, rub the oil into a thin, even layer all over the sweet potatoes. Wrap the sweet potatoes up tight in the foil and place in the oven.
Depending on the size of your sweet potatoes, it will take between 45 minutes and 1 hour for them to be done. Check at 45 minutes by inserting a sharp knife or fork into the centre. It should feel quite soft and the knife should easily glide all the way through. If not, return to the oven and check again in 10 minutes. Once cooked through, pull out of the oven and unwrap.
Meanwhile, spread the bread crumbs in a baking pan, place in the oven and bake until toasted, 8 to 10 minutes.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan at medium-high heat; allow to bubble for about 3 minutes. Cook enough to let the fat solids caramelize and create brown butter. Add the maple syrup, lemon juice and salt to finish your vinaigrette. Set aside and keep warm.
Once the sweet potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel and forchette (fork) the flesh into large hunks and place in a bowl with the toasted bread crumbs. Sprinkle the blue cheese all over the sweet potatoes. Place the grapes randomly on top, spoon the brown butter vinaigrette all over, sprinkle with tarragon leaves, and finish with some salt and pepper.
Serves: 2 to 4
Excerpted from Matty Matheson: Home Style Cookery by Matty Matheson. Text copyright © 2020 Cassoulet Palace, Inc. Photographs copyright © 2020 Quentin Bacon. Published in 2020 by Abrams, an imprint of ABRAMS.