This is a recipe I developed several years ago at the restaurant in response to the increasing demand for vegetarian options. While in Hawai’i, I recreated it and modified it by using those delicious Okinawan Purple Sweet Potatoes, both for taste and color. Italian Taleggio cheese was easily available at the specialty cheese section, so I stayed true to that, and I selected a local honey for the drizzle: Lehua Blossom. You can’t get more Hawaiian than that with honey.
This recipe is delicious and simple to make, though there is a little pre-prep involved, as it is always the case when different vegetables are involved. But some of the steps can be prepped ahead of time.
PURPLE SWEET POTATO, KABOCHA & ONION MILLEFEUILLE WITH TALEGGIO & LEHUA BLOSSOM HONEY
yields: 4 servings
- 200 gr (7 oz.) Okinawan Purple Sweet Potatoes (or other sweet potatoes), boiled and peeled
- 170 gr. (6 oz.) Kabocha Pumpkin, peeled, seeded and sliced in 1/8″ thick slices (see image below)
- 280 gr. (10 oz.) Onions of choice, peeled, trimmed and sliced
- 1 cup ca. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 4 slices of Italian Taleggio cheese, 1/4″ thick, crust free
- 1/2 cup Lehua Blossom Honey (or other light colored honey of choice)
- 1 garlic clove, peeled, sliced lengthwise, core removed
- extra-virgin olive oil
- sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- finely chopped parsley
- a few sprigs of fresh rosemary
- a little butter
You will also need: 4 oven proof ramekins & parchment paper
1 In a large non-stick sauté pan heat 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, the garlic clove and the rosemary sprig on medium heat. Add the slices of kabocha, season with salt and pepper and cook until almost tender, turning gently once and making sure not to break the slices. Set aside.
2 In another large non-stick sauté pan heat another 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, then add the onions. Season with salt and pepper, and cook on medium heat until almost caramelized. Set aside.
3 Slice the boiled and peeled purple sweet potatoes into 1/8″ thick slices. Set aside.
4 Butter 4 ovenproof ramekins. Cut out 8 strips of parchment paper and insert two in each ramekins, crossing them (see image below). Press to adhere to the base and sides. This will make it easier to remove the millefeuilles once ready to serve. This works for pies, too, FYI.
Start layering the vegetables in each ramekins, starting with purple sweet potatoes to cover the bottom of the ramekins. Then sprinkle with a little parmesan cheese, and a little rosemary. Next make a layer with the kabocha slices, and also sprinkle lightly with parmesan cheese and rosemary. Next spoon in an equivalent layer of onions. Repeat until the ramekins are full.
This phase can be completed a day ahead. Store the filled ramekins covered with cling wrap in the refrigerator until ready to complete.
5. Preheat the oven to 360ºF/180ºC. Place the ramekins on a baking sheet then into the oven to bake for about 20 minute, until heated through. Remove them from the oven and gently invert each ramekin in the center of a spacious baking dish. Top each millefeuille with a slice of Taleggio and place under the broiler until the cheese starts to run, about a minute or less.
Remove from the oven and, using a wide metal spatula, carefully transfer the millefeuilles to individual serving plates (preheated plates would be best). Drizzle with honey and sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley. Serve immediately.
Other flavorful cheeses can be substituted for the Taleggio, but be careful to choose one that does not have a bitter after taste. A truffled cheese would also be a good choice. And talking about truffles, if you are lucky enough to get hold of a good one, a few slices on top of this dish would be excellent.
If you cannot find purple sweet potatoes, substitute them with other sweet potatoes, though the purple color of the dish would be lost.
Lehua Blossom Honey is typical of Hawai’i and can be found in specialty food stores or on line from this producer (which is the one I used). If you cannot find any, you can substitute it with a Chestnut Flower honey or other similar golden honey of your choice.
Do you like to combine salty dishes with sweet touches, like the honey in this recipe? I loooooove it! Salty-sweet is one of my favorite combinations. Like bacon with pancakes and maple syrup, a recent discovery flavor-wise for me. It is so satisfying!
I hope you will enjoy this recipe, and I would love to know how you like it.