"Food should always look spectacular...and the taste shouldn't let the good looks down."
Experiencing a moment of deja vu?
Yes, I've punted the fact that people eat first with their eyes at every opportunity, and I'll continue to remind you of this all-important lesson.
A contract of color, texture, and flavor is the Culinary Holy Trinity, and it's so easy to achieve.
Try these Roast Sweet Potato Rounds With pecan cranberry salsa topping for size.
Despite the impressive name, they are super simple to prepare, double up as a side dish, or light vegetarian main if served on grains, and add immediate visual appeal to everyday meat 'n potatoes and '100-ways-with-chicken' fare.
The culinary style challenge begins right here!
2 large, long sweet potatoes, sliced in thick rounds*
3 tablespoons toasted pecan nuts, chopped
2 spring onions, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
3 tablespoons cranberries, chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons wholegrain Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons olive oil
1: Line a tray with baking paper, generously coat with olive oil & place rounds on top.
2: Brush tops with oil, season well & roast at 180 C for 15 to 20 minutes then flip pieces over.
3: Season the underside with salt and pepper and return to the oven for a further 15 minutes to cook till lightly blistered and darker in spots.
4: Combine the chopped pecans, celery, cranberries, and parsley together to make salsa topping, and whisk the vinegar, mustard, olive oil and salt and pepper to make a dressing.
5: Mix half the dressing into the salsa and, when ready to serve, scoop a spoonful of the salsa mixture over each sweet potato round and drizzle remaining dressing over the top. Rounds can be served at room temperature on their own, or on a bed of baby leaves, quinoa, couscous, or bulgar wheat.
COOK'S NOTES: Salsa topping and dressing can be made a few days in advance. Add chopped feta to the salsa if serving a dairy meal. Sweet potato can be roasted early in the day but is better not refrigerated. You can simply scrub the sweet potatoes and not peel them if preferred. Choose long, thick sweet potatoes so that you get perfect rounds when sliced. Recipe serves 6 as a side dish and quantities can be easily increased to serve more.