For chef Ashleigh Fleming, food is either about transporting people or helping them see the beauty of where they are. And sometimes, it’s a combination of the two, as is the case with her sweet potato salsa. “Chefs often find that their food is a way to speak to guests, and a lot of the conversations I have are centered around place, be it North Carolina or my home state of Texas,” says the executive chef at Blue Jay Bistro in Littleton, North Carolina. “We are in sweet potato country, so this was a perfect recipe to take a familiar ingredient in our area and use it in a uniquely Texas manner to start the conversation and earn some trust in our food.” Add sweet potato salsa to taco night, or simply pair with your favorite tortilla chips for a fun spin on a gameday dip.
Sweet Potato Salsa
North Carolina meets Texas in this sweet and savory salsa
Photo: Jenny Everett
Sweet Potato Salsa (Yield: 1 pint)
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced*
1 tbsp. minced jalapeño
¼ cup minced red onion (optional: run under cold water for a minute to reduce pungency)
½ cup diced tomato
2 tbsp. diced cilantro
2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. Tajin (chili/lime seasoning available at most grocery stores)
Salt, to taste
1 tsp. lime zest
1 tbsp. lime juice
Place sweet potatoes in a pot of cold water (if using two different colored potatoes. Place sweet potatoes in a pot of cold water. (If using two different colored potatoes, put each in its own separate sauce pot to prevent purple from bleeding into the orange). Bring to a boil. Cook until tender, about 2 to 3 minutes. Drain and run under cool water to stop the cooking process. Once cooled, add to a mixing bowl along with jalapeño, red onion, tomatoes, cilantro, cumin, Tajin, salt, and lime zest and juice. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Serve over tacos or sheet pan nachos.
* For added color, substitute one sweet potato for a purple majesty potato, peeled and diced.