pounds sweet potatoes (about 3 medium)
tablespoons grapeseed oil
medium white onion, sliced (about 1 cup)
small fennel bulb, sliced (about 1/3 cup), fronds reserved for garnish
small jalapeño, finely chopped (about 2 teaspoons)
cup fresh ricotta
cup grated Parmesan (about 1 ounce)
cup raw pecans, chopped
tablespoon fresh lime juice (from 1/2 lime)
teaspoons maple syrup
teaspoons anchovy oil (optional)
teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
teaspoon onion powder
teaspoon vanilla extract
piece whole fresh nutmeg, grated (about 1 teaspoon)
Extra-virgin olive oil and crispy fried onions (optional), for garnish
Toasted Agege bread, tortilla chips or celery sticks, for serving
- Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Using a vegetable brush and water, scrub the sweet potatoes to remove dirt, then place them on a sheet pan.
- Bake the sweet potatoes on the top rack until soft to the touch, about 1 1/4 hours. Let cool for at least 1 hour.
- Add grapeseed oil to a large skillet and heat over medium. Add sliced onion, fennel and jalapeño to the skillet and sauté for 15 minutes or until onions are soft and slightly browned. Set aside and let cool room temperature.
- Using your hands, gently peel the sweet potatoes and discard the skins. In a large bowl, use a potato masher to mash the potatoes until you see tiny chunks. (The texture shouldn’t be ultrasmooth.)
- Using a spoon, stir in the cooked onion mixture along with the ricotta, Parmesan, pecans, lime juice, maple syrup, anchovy oil (if using), salt, onion powder, vanilla and nutmeg. Store the dip in an airtight container, and place in the fridge until ready to eat. (If you have the time, the flavors are always better the next day.)
- Just before serving, stir to combine and season the dip to taste with salt. Drizzle it with olive oil, then top it with the reserved fennel fronds and crispy fried onions, if you like. Serve with any combination of bread, tortilla chips or celery sticks.