Sweet Potatoes In A French Provincial Style

Sweet potatoes share all the wonders of potato, including their love of heaps of butter, and they cook like a dream in the microwave. My sort of food. Any method you use to cook potatoes will apply to sweet potatoes.

Sweet potatoes are all their straightforward name would suggest they should be. Sweet as sugar and looking not unlike potatoes. Although, I note with some horror, even in full season they are not cheap. This has nothing to do with the way they look, nor with the sudden push towards them by the trend-setters. It’s just a case, I believe, of not many pros putting aside not many fields to not many sweet potatoes. They are not a new product either, having been around since pre- Columbus days, coming from the New World to Europe with the man himself.

One of the truly great dishes of French provincial cuisine is potatoes, layered with cream, and cooked in a slow oven for a long, long time. The same dish is superb with sweet potatoes,taking on a sweetness that almost takes it into the pudding area. But the beauty of the sweet potato is that you can make the same dish in the microwave in not much more than 10 minutes.

2 teaspoons mustard seeds

zest of 1 lime

olive oil

1 kg sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced as thinly as a 20-cent coin

100g butter, melted

200mL cream

100g parmesan, grated

spring onions, chopped reasonably finely

2 cloves garlic, sliced finely



black pepper

juice of 1 lime


Cook the mustard seeds and lime zest in a little olive oil in a largish dish in the microwave, for no more than 1 minute on HIGH.


Remove from the oven and arrange a layer of sweet potato on the bottom of the dish.


Cover with a little of the following: the melted butter, cream, grated parmesan, spring onion, garlic, chives, a little salt and black pepper; and then another layer of sweet potato.


Continue the layering as above, finishing with a top level of sweet potato. Cover and cook in the microwave on high for 10 minutes.


Remove, uncover, and dot with more butter, and sprinkle with fresh chives and parmesan. Serve in the cooking bowl. Sprinkle a little lime juice over the lot.

Cooked sweet potato, done in the microwave, is terrific when it’s given another hit in a hot pan. Peel the sweet potatoes, cut into ‘coins’ and cook, covered, in the microwave, for about 10 minutes on high. Remove, allow to cool, and panfry in a little hot oil, tossing so that the ‘coins’ get a little crisp on their edges and bases. Serve dotted with butter, a little salt, the juice of a lime, and a handful of chopped herbs.

WINE: As you prepare this dish get into a really good malt whisky. I like the Balvenie, Bowmore and the McCallum.