Last weekend we celebrated my roommates birthday with a wine tasting trip to Temecula and then a barbeque in our back yard; grilling hamburgers and making homemade fries. A friend suggested that I get ideas from local food trucks, so it got me thinking tasty combinations like garlic chive fries, oregano thyme parmesan fries, and savory sweet potato fries. I bought many potatoes, so I had the opportunity to try others out after the party.
I was inspired by an appetizer at a local spot called District Wine which has a cozy but sophisticated atmosphere, good wine, and tasty food. I always get the Roasted Bar Nuts so I thought it would be interesting to combine this with sweet potatoes, you know, kind of a healthy dessert version of potato bites.
These go really well with a Malbec or Cabernet Sauvignon. I have heard that Gascon at Trader Joe’s is really good, but I haven’t tried it yet. I bought a blend of Merlot and Malbec from Baily Vineyard and Winery in Temecula that I’m excited to share with my roommates.
The cayenne pepper gives the chocolate a great kick and the rosemary brings out the flavor of the roasted nuts. I confess that the mixed nuts stand on their own, but the sweet potato is a fun bed to serve it on. The soft sweet potato and the crunchy nuts is a big surprise to your taste buds. I happen to love any surprise to my taste buds; given my love for beer and wine!
- 1 cup mixture of chopped walnuts, almonds, and pecans
- 3 large sweet potatoes, cut into thin slices (enough to fill up a large mixing bowl)
- 4 Tbs of rosemary
- 1 tsp of cayenne pepper
- 3 Tbs grape seed oil
- 3 Tbs butter
- 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 5 ounces of bittersweet or dark chocolate, shaved
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and roast the nuts for 5-10 minutes, turning often and being careful not to burn. Set aside.
- Turn up the oven to 400 degrees F.
- In a large mixing bowl, coat sweet potatoes with grape seed oil, 2 Tbs of rosemary, and 1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper. Move potatoes from one mixing bowl to another if necessary to evenly coat.
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and bake the sweet potatoes for 20-30 minutes, turning every 10 minutes, until the potatoes begin to brown.
- Combine the nuts, remaining rosemary and cayenne pepper. Melt the butter in the microwave and mix with the sugar. Add to the nut mixture until evenly combined.
- Spoon the nut mixture on top of the sweet potatoes and bake for another 10 minutes until the nuts are hot.
- Remove the sweet potatoes from the oven and sprinkle on the dark chocolate shavings. Since the chocolate will melt, consider waiting 5 minutes to retain the texture of the chocolate.
What is your favorite appetizer of local spot?