One of my greatest idols is Ruth Reichl, a clever writer who delightfully manages to approach food with just the right balance of weightiness and sense of humor, the latter often a rare commodity among “serious” authors. I love Reichl’s recipes, I love her storytelling, and I always benefit from her vast knowledge. This recipe—a rhapsody for sweet, bitter, and salty—is based on one of hers, published in Gourmet Today, a selection from the sadly defunct Gourmet magazine, which Reichl edited for many years. Recipe from Plenty More (Ten Speed Press, 2014). —Yotam Ottolenghi
1 1/2 cups
freshly squeezed orange juice (the juice of 4 to 5 oranges)
red wine vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons
4 to 5
sweet potatoes, unpeeled, halved crosswise, each half cut into 1-inch-wide wedges
red chiles, split open along the center
heads garlic, unpeeled and halved horizontally
goat cheese log, broken into pieces
In This Recipe
Preheat the oven to 425º F.
Place the orange juice in a saucepan with the sugar and vinegar. Bring to a boil over high heat, then turn down the heat to medium-high and simmer fairly rapidly for about 20 minutes, until the liquid has thickened and reduced to scant 1 cup (about the amount in a large glass of wine). Add the bitters, olive oil, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt.
Place the potatoes in a large bowl, add the chiles, sage, thyme, and garlic, and then pour in the reduced sauce. Toss well so that everything is coated and then spread the mixture out in a single layer on a baking sheet on which it fits snugly, about 12 by 16 inches.
Place in the oven and roast for 50 to 60 minutes, turning and basting the potatoes every 15 minutes or so. They need to remain coated in the liquid in order to caramelize, so add more orange juice if the pan is drying out.
At the end, the potatoes should be dark and sticky. Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly before arranging on a platter and dotting with the goat cheese. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Yotam Ottolenghi owns an eponymous group of four restaurants, plus the high-end restaurant, Nopi, in London. He writes for The Guardian, and appears on BBC. Sami Tamimi is a partner and head chef at Ottolenghi. Authors of the New York Times bestseller Jerusalem and the runaway hit Plenty, they have been featured in the New York Times, Saveur and the Los Angeles Times. They Live in London.