Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Vegetable of the Week - Japanese Yams

I decided I should start a tradition of trying and then reviewing a new vegetable that no one in my household has ever eaten before each week. After much careful consideration, I confirmed to myself that this was an excellent plan. So here we are...and the winner this week is Japanese Yams! These heavenly little tubers have an odd and pleasing teardrop shape to them. The flesh is a very sweet marigold yellow color, and the texture is pretty similar to the yellow-fleshed sweet potatoes most Americans are familiar with. Without being fluffy or starchy sand-textured, they couldn't really be called smooth or custardy, either. It's rather a middle type of feel, and I liked them a lot.

I saw these little guys in a forlorn-looking pile all alone at the commissary getting no love. I decided I must have them. The produce guy, who knows me by sight now, stopped by while I was choosing 3 yams and asked me how I was going to cook them. I hadn't really thought about it, so he recommended using them baked. That sounded brilliant to me, so that's just what we did. I baked them, unwrapped, in the oven for an hour at 350-degrees. We churched them up with some vegan Smart Balance spread, and that was pretty much all they needed. Being ever intrepid, I tried the skin. It is not tasty like those on some potatoes, and it is tough and darn-near impossible to chew. So...leave the skin on your plate, but definitely dig in to the yellow fleshy goodness inside. They are incredibly sweet yams, and everyone really enjoyed them.

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