A hearty dish ideal for fall-weather comfort food, the sweet potato is a healthful option for a substantial meal. If you think the only way to enjoy this orange spud is baked or mashed, think again. Versatile and rife with potential (as well as vitamins A and C and antioxidants), it’s equally enjoyable grilled, sautéed, roasted, pureed, or even when substituting its cousin, the potato, as the star of a dish. (Have you ever heard of sweet potato skins? They exist.) Such versatility also lends this superfood the ability to transform a meal any time of the day.
In fact, this modest vegetable root rarely gets the respect it warrants. However, these five dishes give the Trump-colored tater something to brag about. When you’re craving this Thanksgiving classic, you’ll know just where to go for a twist that will satisfy your needs.
1. Kentucky Bourbon Sweet Potato Casserole at Royal Pig Pub
350 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale; 954-617-7447; royalpigpub.com.
While not technically a dessert, this sweet potato casserole is so decadent it certainly has the merits of one. Peeled sweet potatoes provide the base texture, which is topped with a walnut and brown sugar crumble and then a final layer of cooked marshmallows. The slight crisp of the perfectly golden exterior gives way to a mouthwatering fluffy interior. As a final delight, a hint of vanilla extract peeks out every now and then in between bites. What more could you ask for?
2. Swordfish and Sweet Potato Gnocchi at Market 17
1850 SE 17th St. #109, Fort Lauderdale; 954-835-5507; market17.net.
The best of land and sea is at your hands in this Market 17 appetizer. Sweet potato gnocchi, bites of swordfish, and charred radicchio bask in a bowl of basil oil and Parmesan brown butter. Perfectly light, the sweet potato gnocchi holds the ideal pillowy texture that characterizes the best of dumplings while the meaty swordfish easily melts in your mouth. Together, this dish hits the right notes of comfort.
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3. Sweet Potato Grits at Red Cow Barbecue
1025 N. Federal Hwy., Fort Lauderdale; 954-652-1524; redcowftl.com.
These sweet potato grits are barbecue heaven. Pureed sweet potato and grits blend perfectly for a sweet-but-not-too-sweet taste with just the right amount of autumnal flavoring without going overboard, coupled with a delicate garnish and hint of spice. Even if you’re not a fan of sweet potatoes or grits, you’ll find that the balance in this dish nails it. The best part? This creamy side works for breakfast or dinner.
4. Sweet Potato Fries at Tap 42
1411 S. Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale; 954-463-4900; tap42.com/ft-lauderdale.
It’s safe to say these one-of-a-kind gastropub-style sweet potato fries are above the average sweet potato fry. They're the perfect standalone appetizer or accompaniment to a juicy burger. Thick and wedged, these fries are stuffed with as much sweet potato as they can possibly hold and are topped with the sweet potato’s best friends, brown sugar and cinnamon. The real kicker, though, is the house marshmallow sauce made with cinnamon-spiced sweet cream — the smooth, rich texture is the ideal juxtaposition to the crispness of the fries.
5. Chicken and Sweet Potato Waffle at S3
505 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd., Fort Lauderdale; 954-523-7873; s3restaurant.com.
This fried chicken and waffle dish achieves the standard sweet-and-salty kick typically brought together by the surprisingly complementary pairing of these two foods, albeit with a spin — the waffle is made from sweet potato, of course, bringing a third main flavor to the party. Complete with maple syrup and bacon butter, this brunch nosh has just the right ingredients in play to keep each from overpowering one another.