We found our fall cooking inspiration where we least expected to find it: in Ziggy Marley’s new cookbook.
More specifically, we found it on pages 74 and 75, where Marley’s recipe for a lush, roasted yam tart beckons like a warm fire on a wintry day.
That is, after all, what pops up in the thought bubble this time of year, even if we live in seasonally challenged South Florida: Ah, fall! Chilly temps and gemstone hues. Cider. Soups. Holiday baking. What shall we cook?
Okay, there are no raging autumn leaves or crackling fire on wintry days here, nothing so dramatic that it sparks cravings for appropriately hearty fare.
But we do have seasonal nuance. And we have imaginations. So we will cook for fall with the same brazen attitude we wield each time we zip up our winter boots and strut into our air-conditioned offices.
Perhaps this was the true appeal of that Ziggy Marley fall recipe – it’s a fall recipe wrapped in a familiar island cloak. The Grammy-winning musician, oldest son of legendary Jamaican singer/songwriter Bob Marley, presents lusciously roasted dishes in his newly published “Ziggy Marley and Family Cookbook” (Akashic Books, $24.95).
Marley, who also owns a GMO-free product line called Ziggy Marley Organics, did not set out to write a Jamaican cookbook, but one that reflects his life. He took inspiration from the food of his Bull Bay youth, his family’s holistic Rasta culture, his wife Orly’s Israeli and Iranian background as well as his own preference for healthy, natural foods.
Within that diverse mix, we found our fall inspiration. Marley offers wonderfully warming recipes, like a lightly spicy coconut-curry squash soup, a cumin-laced roasted cauliflower dish, a stout gingerbread loaf and, yes, that roasted yam tart.
At a time of the year when it’s hard to think of yams without visions of melted marshmallows, the yams in this tart stand on their own in their natural sweetness. That sweetness finds a buttery backdrop in the baked puff pastry, savory contrast in onions and feta cheese and thyme, plus depth and roundness in coconut oil.
The roasting yams and baking puff pastry will fill your kitchen with those fall baking aromas. And, let’s be real, isn’t that what we crave at this time of the year as we contemplate the sway of palm fronds outside?
ROASTED YAM TART
The sweet yams and creamy-salty feta are a pair made in heaven. Plus, the buttery pastry adds a rich, toasty element.
Recipe adapted from “Ziggy Marley and Family Cookbook,” published Oct. 11 by Akashic Books.
1 puff pastry sheet
½ pound yams, sliced
½ cup onion, sliced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 tablespoon coconut oil
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup feta, crumbled
Hempseeds, as desired
1. Preheat oven to 375F. Par-bake the puff pastry sheet on a sheet pan to 80 percent of the package cooking time.
2. At the same time, combine the yams, onions, thyme, ½ tablespoons coconut oil, salt, pepper and 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil on a sheet pan and roast alongside puff pastry.
3. When pastry sheet is par-baked, remove from oven and brush with ½ tablespoon of each oil.
4. Remove vegetable filling from oven, making sure the yams are soft, and spread evenly over pastry.
5. Top with feta cheese and hempseeds, and bake until the cheese somewhat melts and puff pastry cooking time is complete (meaning the final 20 percent of the package cooking time).
6. Garnish with fresh thyme and serve hot.
Serves 2 to 4
Test kitchen notes: After making Marley’s recipe recently, we have the following recommendations to maximize the yams’ flavor and the puff pastry’s toasty texture.
- Using a spray bottle, spritz olive oil on the yam slices and roast them on the sheet pan at 375F till tender (about 35 minutes), flipping them over halfway into the roasting time.
- For a sweeter touch, caramelize the onions in a skillet before adding to the tart.
- Bake the puff pastry separately from the yams to eliminate any excess moisture in the oven.
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