February, with its serial blizzards and record-shattering low temperatures has been a cruel month for New Yorkers. At the farmers market, such as it is, there are root vegetables galore, potatoes that have been in storage since fall, and not much else. In truth, it’s the best time for pillowy sweet potato gnocchi, which are best made when the tubers are not freshly harvested and brimming with moisture.
My friend and neighbor, Joan Gussow, grows her own sweet potatoes and we made them together on a recent blustery day along with my two daughters in her light-filled kitchen on the west bank of the Hudson River. If Joan Gussow, master gardener and one of the most important voices in the real food movement, loves my sweet potato gnocchi, I know you will, too.
National Public Radio discovered my new twist on this Italian classic and is airing the story on their “Found Recipes” series on “All Things Considered” this Thursday, February 20. Listen in to find out how you can make them. Infinitely more delicious than a mouthful of sweet potatoes with marshmallows, they are bound to lift your spirits on a bleak winter day.
Since my grandfather, then uncle and now cousin’s farm is in South Carolina I am in love with sweet potatoes and just loved this post. I remember hitchhiking back for Semester Break from South Carolina to the University of Illinois and pulling out a baked sweet potato in the middle of the night that my grandmother baked for me and enjoying it in the darkness waiting for a ride. I have heard stories from my now deceased aunts on how they mounded up sweet potatoes under earthen piles covered with corn stalks for use in the winter. My dad told me that in the depression, that some poor folks in South Carolina had nothing to eat all winter except for sweet potatoes. I have this rather drastic way of baking them 450 F for an hour and a half. At this point the paper skin is half an inch from the sweet potatoes and the caramelized juice is drips on the pan and is sorta baked on the pan- but they are so great. I loved your article.
This is such a lovely reminiscence! Thanks so much for posting it.
Beautiful recipe and photo, Julia! Brava! Great NPR news.