Sweet Potato Gratin with Pecans
Thanksgiving sweet potatoes are often the topic of serious debate. Sweet or savory? To marshmallow or not to marshmallow? This savory version enriched with crème fraîche and bits of crispy prosciutto is a total people pleaser that has become a Thanksgiving tradition for many—and it’s equally good served as part of a breakfast buffet alongside eggs and bacon or ham.
- 1/3 cup (1 1/2 oz./45 g) pecan halves
- 4 thin slices prosciutto, about 2 oz. (60 g) total, cut into 1/2-inch (12-mm) strips
- 4 sweet potatoes, 1 1/2 to 2 lb. (750 g to 1 kg) total, peeled and cut into chunks
- 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup (2 oz./60 g) crème fraîche
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
Preheat an oven to 350°F (180°C).
Spread the pecans in a single layer in a pie dish. Toast, stirring occasionally, until the nuts are fragrant and barely golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Increase the oven temperature to 400°F (200°C).
In a fry pan over medium-high heat, cook the prosciutto, stirring occasionally, until crisp, 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the sweet potatoes, lower the heat to a simmer and cook until the sweet potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife, about 15 minutes. Drain well and transfer to a large bowl.
Using a potato masher, mash the sweet potatoes until nearly smooth. Add 1 Tbs. of the butter, the crème fraîche, salt and pepper and stir to blend. Stir in the prosciutto. Spread the sweet potato mixture in a 1- to 1 1/2-quart (1 to 1.5-l) gratin dish.
Coarsely chop the toasted pecans. Sprinkle the pecans over the sweet potato mixture. Cut the remaining 1 Tbs. butter into bits and dot the top.
Bake until the butter has melted, the top has formed a golden crust and the sweet potatoes are hot throughout, about 20 minutes. Serve immediately. Serves 6.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Breakfast and Brunch, by Georgeanne Brennan, Elinor Klivans, Jordan Mackay and Charles Pierce (Oxmoor House, 2007)