Looking for something a little different from the usual crostini hors d'oeuvre? How about a sweet potato — sliced into rounds, roasted, and topped with a zingy miso sauce. It's a flavorsome little bite to whet the appetite, plus it's perfect for gluten-free and vegetarian folks.
Sweet potato rounds are beautifully colored, and in size and shape they make a great stand-in for a baguette. However, there's just one thing — they're sweet. Thus, for a pre-dinner bite I like combining the potatoes with something salty, nutty, and umami-rich. Time for my favorite tahini-miso sauce, whipped up with mellow white miso, creamy mayonnaise, and a touch of heat in the form of ginger and cayenne. A garnish of scallions and toasted sesame seeds brings it all together.
With the hint of Asian flavors, these miso sweet potato bites could be served before a Japanese- or Korean-influenced meal, or any number of vegetarian-friendly gatherings. The sauce or spread isn't limited to sweet potatoes, either. It also makes an excellent dip for fancy crudités at a party or carrot sticks in a lunch sack.
Miso Sweet Potato Bites
Makes approximately 30 rounds (depends on size and shape of potatoes)
unpeeled sweet potatoes (for the most attractive presentation, select sweet potatoes that are fairly uniform in diameter and shape)
Oil for baking sheet
vegan mayonnaise (can substitute regular mayonnaise)
gluten-free white miso
Small pinch of cayenne pepper
scallions, green parts only, thinly sliced on the diagonal
toasted sesame seeds (preferably black for contrast)
Preheat oven to 400°F and lightly oil a baking sheet. Slice the sweet potatoes into 1/2-inch-thick rounds and place in a single layer on the baking sheet. Bake for about 30 minutes until the potatoes are brown on the bottom and tender but not mushy.
To make the spread, whisk together the mayonnaise, miso, tahini, lemon juice, ginger, and cayenne. Taste and adjust any ingredients as desired.
To serve, spread the miso mixture on top of warm (not hot) or room temperature sweet potato rounds. Garnish with scallions and sesame seeds.
(Images: Emily Han)