Sweet-Potato Salad with Ham and Curried Almonds

An unusual potato salad, this starts with the homegrown combination of sweet potatoes and ham, and then turns exotic with a sprinkling of curried almonds. We like to perch the whole affair atop a bed of red leaf lettuce, but you can always choose to serve the potato salad without the greens.

Yield: 4
Recipe from Food & Wine

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Ingredients

  • 2 pounds sweet potatoes (about 3 large), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons sliced almonds
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 1/2- pounds piece smoked ham, such as Black Forest, diced
  • 3 scallions including green tops, sliced thin
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar or red- or white-wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
  • 1 head red leaf lettuce (about 1 pound), torn into bite-size pieces (about 3 quarts)

Preparation

  1. 1. Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Add the sweet potatoes and boil until just tender, 5 to 10 minutes. Drain the sweet potatoes and transfer them to a large glass or stainless-steel bowl.
  2. 2. In a small frying pan, heat the 1 tablespoon oil over moderate heat until it is hot but not smoking. Add the almonds and curry powder and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the nuts to the bowl with the sweet potatoes and add the ham and scallions.
  3. 3. In a large glass or stainless-steel bowl, whisk the vinegar, salt, and pepper. Add the remaining 2/3 cup oil slowly, whisking. Toss half the dressing into the sweet-potato mixture.
  4. 4. Toss the lettuce into the remaining dressing. Put on plates and top with the potato salad.
  5. Variation:: The curried nuts and ham make great complements to sweet potatoes, but they're excellent with regular boiling potatoes, too.
  6. Wine Recommendation: The sweetness of the potatoes, the spice of the curry, and the saltiness of the ham all point toward gew├╝rztraminer as the wine of choice. Try a not-too-dry example from Alsace or Washington State for a match made in heaven.
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