The first time I made this dish, I wrote a note to myself that said, “Yum! Not much to look at, but yum.” You will have extra tahini butter left over: Scrape it into a jar and chill it. It will keep for at least a week and is an easy dinner fixer. Toss it with warm grains, udon noodles, or a tray of roasted vegetables; spread it onto a seared steak while it rests, or use it to top broiled salmon or snapper.
Acorn or butternut squash, cut into 2-inch wedges, in place of sweet potatoes
Creamy peanut butter for tahini
Walnut oil in place of sesame oil
Unseasoned rice vinegar for lime juice
Crushed toasted peanuts or pepitas for sesame seeds
- Bring a few inches of water to a boil in a medium stockpot fitted with a steamer basket. Halve the sweet potatoes crosswise, if large, and place them in the steamer. Cover, reduce the heat to medium, and steam until potatoes are completely tender, about 30 minutes. I use a cake tester to check doneness, but the tines of a fork or tip of a paring knife would work, too.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the butter, tahini, soy sauce, sesame oil, and lime juice and use a spatula, spoon, or fork to smash them together (you will think the butter and the liquids will never fully combine, but don’t give up—it will happen). Season tahini butter with salt and a generous amount of pepper.
- Use tongs to transfer cooked potatoes to a large plate or platter. When just cool enough to handle, split potatoes in half and spread tahini butter generously onto flesh. Don’t be skimpy: The tahini butter is a sauce, not a schmear. Top with a liberal coating of sesame seeds and season with flaky salt. Serve with more lime wedges—these really come alive with lots of bright citrus.
Reprinted with permission Where Cooking Begins by Carla Lalli Music, copyright © 2019. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House. Photography credit: Gentl and Hyers © 2019