I saw the lead photo for this recipe on Smitten Kitchen (hers came out much prettier than mine), and was instantly sold. On top of that, we had some leftover sweet potatoes after Thanksgiving, and after our indulgences in Los Angeles (and then a dinner at Briskettown upon return), and I was ready for something simpler and wholesome.
Here, the sweet potatoes really shine. It's a little dressed up for a midweek affair, but the few extra steps look showier than the effort involved really warrants, and it's a pretty tasty result.
I started with four sweet potatoes, probably about a pound or so each. It's obviously easier if you use spuds that are relatively similar in size and shape, but I used what I had.
Peel and then thinly slice the sweet potatoes. Also thinly slice a large shallot, or two medium-sized ones.
Next, I browned about two tablespoons of butter in a cast iron skillet. Once it was all bubbly and brown and nutty and delicious-smelling, I sprinkled in some sea salt and black pepper, then started layering the potatoes. I only had enough to build an outer ring, and then I laid a few flat down in the center. In between every four or five potato slices, I slipped a little bit of shallot.
In a separate bowl, I mixed another tablespoon of butter, about a tablespoon of honey, about a tablespoon of olive oil, and a teaspoon of dried red pepper flakes. If I had ancho chili powder or cayenne, I definitely would have added that in here too. Nutmeg would make another good addition, and if you had maple syrup instead of honey, all the better. I mixed that together, and once the sweet potatoes and shallots had been assembled, I brushed the butter-honey-etc. mixture all over them.
Then covered the whole thing with foil and popped in a 400 degree oven for about forty minutes; then took off the foil, cranked the heat to 450 (as recommended by Smitten Kitchen), and managed to last about ten minutes before I couldn't wait anymore. Smitten Kitchen recommends twenty minutes, to get a nice crispy top on the potatoes, and that would probably be pretty delicious if you can hold out that long.
Instead, I scooped mine into a bowl (making sure to get that sticky buttery sauce from the bottom of the skillet), and sprinkled with some Italian parsley.