I’ve been a little harried since we moved to Washington, I will not lie. With all of the moves that I have experienced, back and forth from Italy, experiencing a new kind of culture shock each time, this may have been the worst. I can’t pinpoint what it is, our first move here as a couple was childless, so we could explore the world with a lot more freedom. Our move to Puglia came with a lot of perks, a fancy hotel for the first few months, a great preschool for our eldest and the joys of seasonal eating in southern Italy. Moving to the suburbs of Seattle has been the biggest culture shock of all, and I’m completely stunted by it. It doesn’t help that my 6 year old is constantly reminding us of how much she misses Italy, her friends, the food, “the old times”. She longs for it, in true Neapolitan fashion. She may be bi-cultural, but her heart is Italian, romantic, creative and melodramatic.
The introduction to this post has very little to do with the actual content, sweet potatoes, though the point is that this was a dish that I made for Thanksgiving, it is January 29th and I am just now getting around to posting it. Harried.
Sweet Potato Tian
- 2 tablespoons thyme leaves
- 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons Aleppo pepper
- 4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
- 6 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes (about 8 medium), peeled, sliced into 1/8″-thick rounds
- 2 pounds parsnips (about 3 extra-large), peeled, sliced into 1/8″-thick rounds4 cups apple cider1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
Special equipment: A 4-quart casserole dish or braiser, preferably round
Position rack in middle of oven and preheat to 325°F. Bring cider to a boil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, add butter, thyme, Aleppo, and 2 tsp. salt, and cook, stirring, until butter is melted. Let cool slightly.
Place potatoes and parsnips in a large bowl. Pour cider mixture over and toss to coat. Stack a handful of slices about 3″ high, then place vertically in casserole dish. Using a measuring cup or small bowl, keep slices standing up as you go, working around the perimeter and then into the center, forming concentric circles. Continue arranging slices in pan until tightly packed (you may have some leftover). Pour in cider mixture to come halfway up sides of dish; discard remaining cider mixture. Sprinkle with remaining 2 tsp. salt and cover tightly with foil.
Bake, covered, 1 hour. Remove foil and brush pan juices over tops of slices with a pastry brush. Increase oven temperature to 425°F and bake, uncovered, until golden brown on top, 35–40 minutes more.
Do Ahead: After first round of baking at 325°F, let cool, then chill for up to 2 days. Bring to room temperature, then bake, uncovered, at 425°F for 40–50 minutes.
One Year Ago: Il Gateau di Patate