California Central Coast Recipes
Baked Yams Romantic Table Style
The secret to baked yams is long slow cooking and patience. If baked correctly, these little tubers have almost the savory sweetness of a dessert. Even "vegetable-reluctant kids love them after tasting them!
I've always liked yams, but it wasn't until I was married and making the whole shebang of the holiday dinners myself and started experimenting on my own that I found the best way to bake them.
The trick is basically to "OVER BAKE them!" to the point they are almost doubly cooked to the point of an almost mashed consistency. Cooked like this, they are sweet enough to eat straight, however is you add a little butter you'll be in "Nirvana" with their rich savory taste satisfaction. They're definitely serotonin producers! Though they look unsophisticated and like something a pauper might eat, one taste and you'll be convinced that they're so outrageously delicious, they're worthy of your "best guests!"
Choose dark-colored medium to large yams with no signs of dryness on their skins.
I usually buy a few extra more than what I actually need as some bake better than others. Another thing, when baking for a crowd, try to have all the yams about the same size. This will make it easier timing the baking process.
Preparation time: 5 minutesCooking time: 1 hour and 30 minutes
2 large Yams
Salt to personal taste
Freshly cracked black pepper to personal taste
Heavy-duty Aluminum foil
1 Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Have oven rack in middle of oven.
2 Cover a baking pan (large enough to hold all the yams separated by an inch or two) with heavy-duty aluminum foil to make clean-up a breeze.
3 Scrub the yams with a vegetable brush. Cut off the end tips of the yams.
4 Place on baking pan, separating the yams by an inch or two to facilitate baking heat so they cook well.
5 If the yams are large, set the timer for one hour. If the yams are smaller, set the timer for forty-five minutes.
6 When the timer goes off, look at the yams. They should be starting to bubble like a marshmallow over a bonfire.
7 Using a fork, prick each yam several times all over its surface. Put back in oven and continue to bake at 425 for another twenty to thirty minutes.
8 When yams are really bubbling and soft when pierced with a fork, they are done. (These yams do leak that's why I recommend using aluminum foil to protect your pan.) Remove from oven and let sit for five minutes or so.
9 Using a sharp knife, cut each yam length-wise and across to make a cross in the center. Squeeze the hot yams end to end (you might want to use a hot pad to this!) and the yam will split open and plump-up ready for a pad of butter.
10 Add a pat or two of butter and serve as is on a platter for your guests. If desired, lightly salt and pepper.
11 They may look really simple and almost crude --but wait until you taste them! You'll be convinced!
Yams go especially well with any white meat.