Serve Your Holiday Sweet Potatoes In Orange Peels For A Show-Stopping Appetizer

sweet potatoes
sweet potatoes - KarepaStock/Shutterstock

Few things are as simple and as delicious as roasted sweet potatoes mashed with butter and salt. It's entirely possible to take a bite of that side dish and want for nothing. During the holiday season, when sweet potatoes have their time to shine, there's a way of dressing them up as a standalone appetizer that makes for both an alluring presentation and flavor enhancement: Bake and serve your sweet potatoes in nearly-whole orange peels. With this one trick, you will have solved the tripartite dinner party problems of festive presentation, portion control, and unnecessary food waste, making you an undisputed genius.

You may not be surprised to hear that the principal ingredients in these sweet potato orange cups are cooked, mashed sweet potatoes and medium-size oranges. (What you put into the sweet potato mixture is up to you, and there are many delicious options out there.) Simply cut about ½ inch off the top of each orange and scoop out the flesh with a spoon. (Now, you can snack on delicious fruit while you make the filling!) Stuff the empty peels with the sweet potato mixture and bake in a casserole dish partly filled with water. Then it's simply a matter of placing one little half-sphere of deliciousness on a plate for each of your guests as a dazzling first course.

Read more: 12 Vegetables And Fruits That Used To Look Very Different

Sweet Potatoes And Oranges: Best Friends Forever

A crate of oranges
A crate of oranges - Mediterranean/Getty Images

Using orange peels as a cooking and presentation vehicle for mashed sweet potatoes is only one iteration of a long and cherished culinary relationship. We've seen this particular combination of root vegetable and fruit forever: glazed, roasted, mashed, and more. It makes sense -- marrying these two ingredients completes a flavor spectrum that starts on the low end with sweet potato's earthiness and ends with orange's citrus high notes, with the sweetness of both meeting in the middle.

What is both new and nuanced about sweet potato orange cups (besides their eye-catching presentation) is the very slight bitter notes added by the white pith inside the peels. If you decide to add orange juice and zest to the mashed sweet potato mixture, you will be showcasing every possible flavor of the fruit, and there's something deeply satisfying about that idea. Also, just imagine how good your kitchen is going to smell in the process!

Someone Else Wants To Join The Party, And The More The Merrier

candied pecans
candied pecans - Elena Veselova/Shutterstock

There's already been much said about cooking with sweet potatoes and various bits of orange. If you think about it, there's room for other flavors as well (besides the never-a-bad-idea addition of butter). Once you let your mind float over the landscape of holiday sweet potato dishes, brown sugar, cinnamon, and pecans can be seen waving from down below. Soon, visions of candied nuts will dance in your head, or possibly a crisp, nutty topping not unlike what goes on an old-school candied sweet potato casserole with tiny marshmallows.

But really, it all comes down to scooping, filling, and baking the round, orange bowls you might have once thought were compost (or were reserving to make candied orange peels). So, drink your piña coladas out of pineapple shells in the summer, but serve your sweet potatoes in orange peels during the holiday season. It's practical, tasty, and beautiful.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.