SWEET potatoes have been the focus of a new campaign to celebrate the birth of this root vegetable in Spain.
A two-day event hosted by Velez Malaga Town Hall’s culture department has celebrated the history, dietary benefits and culinary versatility of this starchier alternative to the traditional spud.
Sweet potatoes were first brought into Spain by Christopher Columbus from the island of Haiti, when he returned from his first voyage in 1493.
While originally cultivated in Sevilla, the climate there was found to be not quite right and production was soon transferred to the Axarquia.
If you are not familiar with this delicious root vegetable, high in vitamins B6, C, D and also minerals iron and magnesium, try this easy recipe to get you started.
You will be pleasantly surprised!
Easy sweet potato fries
3 large sweet potatoes, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1-2 tbsp sugar, 1 tbsp salt, 1-2 tbsp spices of your choice (smoked paprika, Chinese five-spice, garam masala, fajita seasoning etc)
1 Preheat oven to 450F (220C)
2 Peel the sweet potatoes and cut off the ends. Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise and then, if they are very long, in half crosswise. Cut each piece into wedges
3 Put the sweet potatoes into a large bowl and add the oil. Mix well to combine. Sprinkle with salt, sugar and spices of your choice. Use your hands to mix well, so all pieces are coated with oil and spices
4 Spread the sweet potatoes out in a single layer on a baking sheet; the oil they are coated with should keep them from sticking to the pan
5 Bake for a total of 25 to 30 minutes. After the first 15 minutes, remove the baking sheet from the oven and turn over all of the sweet potato pieces. Return to the oven and bake for another 10-15 minutes, or until they are well browned. Let cool for five minutes before serving
Yield: Serves 4-6 as a side dish
Tip: Try to cut them evenly so they all cook at about the same rate