Gjelina’s Roasted Yams Recipe (2024)



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Cooking Notes

J. Vega

Here in L.A. a T of Espelette peppers runs about $25, and using "crushed red pepper flakes" (usually Cayenne pepper) would radically change this dish. Espelette peppers have a Scoville rating of about 4,000 (mildly hot) while Cayenne peppers run between 30,000 to 50,000 Scovile units, a huge difference.

I'd suggest pimentón (smoked paprika) with a pinch or two of the red pepper flakes as a substitute for the Espelette peppers.


Step 1 Q: You're right. They must have started with long skinny sweet potatoes (enough! with this "yam" myth). If your spuds are portly just cut them into more wedges. You want the long thin profile for better crisping & caramelization.
Step 2 Q: You will get a better result if you roast the wedges skin-side-down. The cut sides will aspirate more internal moisture than the skin side, yielding the desired crispy, caramelized quality. Allow good space between wedges on the pan.

Sam Sifton

Ottolenghi has a recipe for roasted sweet potatoes with lemongrass creme fraiche in "Plenty." It contains ground coriander and ginger in addition to the first two ingredients, and a garnish of cilantro and sliced red chili. He also has one for roasted butternut squash with "sweet spices" -- garam masala, cinnamon, cloves and the like -- along with a lime yogurt that has some tahini in it. The dish is dressed with sliced jalapeno and chopped cilantro. Delicious. And different.


It might indeed be a "take" on an earlier recipe, but in cooking what isn't? A "rip-off" is too harsh, implying intentions were predatory and deceitful.

I'm just glad for any vegetable-focused cookbook like this one, and am anxiously awaiting Joshua McFadden's upcoming cookbook for the vegetable-focused Ava Gene's restaurant in Portland, all of the recipes for which that I've tried (bon appetit online), have been superb, as is the restaurant itself.

Melanie N.

I used the cold-oven method for the yams—starting them in a cold oven does something magic to the sugars in yams. I followed everything else in the recipe and the yams had crispy, caramelized exteriors and uber-soft, moist interiors; served them with Mexican Crema and it was literally one of the most delicious things I've ever tasted.

Thomas Sherman

Might I recommend using flaked Aleppo pepper rather than the more expensive and difficult to find Espelette? It really is delicious, and just spicy enough to flavor. I love it.


In the United States true yams (from Africa) are rare, and what's sold in most supermarkets as yams are actually soft sweet potatoes, called "yams" to differentiate from the firm type.



"Since the 'soft' sweet potatoes slightly resembled true yams, they picked up the name and became what you see labeled as 'yams' in most U.S. grocery stores."


Pepperscale.com recommends a well-chosen paprika as a substitute for Espelette pepper. After that, Aleppo Pepper.


Thomas Chan

With a hot oven, a trick that I've found right at the end of cooking while the pan is still hot, is to dip and glaze the cut sides of the quartered slices with the caramelised honey-based drippings that pool at the bottom of the pan. Using a pair of tongs, I swipe each of the cut sides with the caramelised drippings while removing them from the pan; when cooled, the coating forms a delectable sweet, glazed crust that makes this dish truly outstanding, similar to your results with a cold oven.


My husband spent a frigid day ice-fishing with friends who provided grilled bear meat - ONLY grilled bear meat - for lunch. He came home ravenous for vegetables, so I made this plus a large bunch of chard, sliced and wilted in olive oil then tossed in a little light vinaigrette. The combination was spectacular, and he wolfed it all.
(Lacking honey, I used dark maple syrup instead, and it worked magnificently.)



My sweet potatoes were huge, but I kept them in quarters so they cooked for twice as long, but this is a wonderful way to dress up sweet potatoes. I steamed some asparagus to go with them and the sauce works just as well on the asparagus as it does the sweet potatoes. Will definitely make again.

Sara F

This was so good, it was hard not to eat the whole thing. Deb Perelman (of Smitten Kitchen) made this with the addition of roasted chickpeas, which made it more of a main course. http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2016/02/roasted-yams-and-chickpeas-with-y...


Amazon has French Espelette peppers for about 12 bucks for 1.4 oz.


This is such a lovely recipe and dish. But I can't help thinking that it should be credited to Ottolenghi's recipe featured in his book Plenty....?


Lime yogurt dressing is superb!


Loved these, but a little too sweet for me. Maybe a different type of honey? I used honey purchased from Costco.I will definitely try making them again.


Simple and delicious!

K. Morrow

I haven't made this recipe yet, but I plan to substitute Aleppo pepper for the Espelette. Here is an article I found that suggests 5 possible substitutions. https://americasrestaurant.com/espelette-peppers-substitutes/


my yams looked old - the skins were hard and dry. I left them on anyway, and they became tender and delicious!


Easy and yummy in the tummy. Espellete pepper not in my pantry, but I read in a reasonable note to sub with smoked paprika and a dash of cayenne for a modest substitution. Good choice. Served with pork tenderloin cooked stove top, and snow peas. Made extra yogurt sauce.


Absolutely wonderful. And wonderfully easy!


The tubers I used look just like the picture. In my grocery store they are labeled "garnet yams."


I was making Christmas dinner in Italy and wanted to include yams. Found excellent locally grown yams easily, but with no maple syrup for my usual recipe, I tried this one. Fantastic! So easy: no peeling or par-boiling, just quarter the yams lengthwise, toss in XVOO, a little honey, lots of hot pepper flakes. Put in oven after meat comes out to rest. Slightly charred, a bit spicy, unusual. Left out the yogurt sauce b/c of many other dishes. Lots of possibilities for improvisation.


Excellent, I used Aleppo peppers, 10,000 Scovile units, that also works well.

Chef Carlos

We loved these sweet potatoes or yams whatever you want to call them. Apparently most of what we call yams in the US are really sweet potatoes. I followed the recipe and used pimenton de la Vera to add spice and chives rather than scallions. Wonderful addition to my roasted sweet potato recipes. Served these along side grilled tbone lamb chops. Perfect combination


Used Aleppo and some cayenne. A little too spicy. Cooked on convection roast at 425 for 35 which was too long. Blackened


I tried the Espellete pepper and the red pepper flakes and I think the red pepper flakes were better. The red pepper flakes were spicier which I thought played well against the sweetness of the potatoes and the honey….if you don’t like heat, use the Espelette


I added some sausage to the cookie sheet and let it all cook together. Delicious.


Used parchment paper and it worked beautifully. No sticking.

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Gjelina’s Roasted Yams Recipe (2024)
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