Introduction: Purple Sweet Potato Rounds With Walnut Fig Jam Tapenade

About: My mid-April 2013 resolution was to start posting instructables. Let's see how I do with that!
A refreshing sweet and salty appetizer or hors d’oeuvre with Mediterranean flavors and a pulchritude derived from its panoply of purpley parts.

This contest-inspired instructable shows off the Stokes Purple sweet potato, a relatively new to the market product that was developed by plant breeding in Stokes County, close to me in the piedmont of North Carolina. It’s unusually rich in anthocyanins, the type of natural pigment and antioxidant that makes wine and cherries red and blueberries blue. If you don’t have purple sweet potatoes, this recipe would be nice made with whatever kind you normally have around—the purple tapenade would look great against an orange background.

Step 1: Ingredients

2    Stokes Purple sweet potatoes
12   dried figs
12  Kalamata olives
12   walnut halves
1/3 cup  honey
1 tablespoon water
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Juice of 1 lemon
Small fresh mint leaves

Makes 2 dozen.

Step 2: Potato Rounds

Choose 2 sweet potatoes that have a circumference similar to a round snack cracker.

Scrub and wash, then slice across the axis into ¼ inch thick rounds. A typical sweet potato will yield about 12 uniformly sized rounds, as well as two tapered ends. Array the rounds across an ungreased foil-lined cookie sheet and bake at 300 degrees for 1 hour or until tender.

Step 3: Tapenade

Coarsely chop the dried figs, olives, and walnuts. In a sturdy sauce pan, combine chopped ingredients, honey, water, lemon juice, and vanilla extract. Simmer, with stirring, for 15 minutes or until figs are tender and liquid has reduced by half. Remove from heat while sweet potatoes finish baking.

Step 4: Assembly

When potatoes are done, transfer cooked rounds to a serving platter. Place 2-3 small mint leaves (or a single large one) in the center of each round, then top with a dollop of the still-warm tapenade. Serve immediately.

Note: Don't underestimate the value of the mint leaves. They might seem like a garnish, but their sweet sharp note pulls all the flavors together and makes this a distinctively Greek-tasting treat.

Though I've been reading instructables for a long time, this is my first instructable ever. I hope you enjoyed it!

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