For me, cooking inspiration can come from a variety of sources. Whether I’m watching food TV or reading a magazine or cookbook, I’m always looking for different takes on ingredients and new ways to cook with them. One of the best sources of my inspiration comes from restaurant menus.
Recently, I visited a fairly new eatery in Savannah whose menu touts regionally sourced ingredients. If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you know that’s right up my alley! I love eating seasonally and supporting the local food movement, and patronizing restaurants who do the same. Food is at its peak when it’s in season, and that’s when it’s going to taste best. The restaurant I visited offered a side dish on their menu that was so good, I recreated it at home, and will share it with you today.
Aside from football and bonfires, the fall season, which is officially here, produces some of the most mouth-watering fruits and vegetables. Pumpkins, zucchini and acorn squash, apples and pears, and among my favorites, Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes. These two ingredients stand on their own, but when combined are even better together. The restaurant dish that inspired me was Sweet Potato and Brussels Sprout Hash. The dish is smoky, sweet, salty, oh so satisfying and Some Kinda Good!
For the record, I usually roast Brussels sprouts with bacon and top them off with fresh Parmesan cheese. That’s one delectable way to eat them. However, when tender, caramelized sweet potatoes are added to the little cabbage-like delicacies, a match made in heaven happens. They always say, things that grow together go together. When the outer leaves of the Brussels sprouts get extra crispy and charred, that’s the flavor I enjoy most.
As a side note, if you’ve never had Brussels sprouts, or if you’ve had them and don’t like them, that’s because they were boiled, which is the most flavorless way to cook anything. Roasting is the technique that will bring out the best taste in most any vegetable. All you need is some good quality olive oil, salt and pepper.
Earlier this week, I heard the weatherman say the average temperature in the fall for our area is around 85 degrees. That sure sounds nice compared with the 100 degree days we’ve had this summer. As you enjoy the change of seasons, I hope you’ll try a new recipe too. Happy fall, y’all!
Sweet Potato and Brussels Sprout Hash
● 1 pound local Brussels Sprouts, stems trimmed and halved
● 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
● 3 slices of hardwood-smoked thick sliced bacon, diced
● Salt and pepper to taste
● 2-4 tablespoons olive oil
● Fresh basil, optional
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. On a large baking sheet in a single layer, spread Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes evenly. Sprinkle raw bacon pieces over the top. Drizzle with oil and season generously with salt and pepper. With clean hands, toss everything together, shaking the pan to make sure all the vegetables remain in a single layer. Roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes, until Brussels sprouts begin to brown and crisp up. Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with fresh basil. Serve warm.
Food Network Star finalist Rebekah Faulk Lingenfelser is a food enthusiast and writer. Her blog, Some Kinda Good, features local, in-season recipes with Southern coastal influences. A Georgia Southern University alumna, she also attended Savannah Technical College’s Culinary Institute of Savannah. Like Some Kinda Good on Facebook, follow @SKGFoodBlog on Twitter and Instagram or visit RebekahLingenfelser.com.