[Neiafu, Vava'u, Kingdom of tonga; 18º 35'S/173º59]
Crow's Nest Cafe sits nestled near the commercial port in Neiafu, surrounded by a lush kitchen garden. Tess and Steve bake bread, cinnamon bun, bagels and assorted creative lunches. One day while visiting, we began talking about using local ingredients in unique ways and Tess described a potato salad made from the local sweet potatoes. This is our version developed shortly after, which we made with two different varieties, one lavender and one a creamy yellow.
4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 large or two small onion, peeled and chopped
4 stalks celery with leaves, chopped
~ 1/8 c (30 ml) cooking oil (our preference sunflower oil)
~ 1/4 c (60 ml) rice wine vinegar, optional
~1/2 cup (120 ml) mayonnaise
ground black pepper to taste
Steam or boil sweet potatoes until they are soft but still holding their shape. Drain in colander and set aside. Add onion and cooking oil to pan and cook onions until translucent and a bit browned. When onion is browned, add chopped celery and leaves and cook for 1-2 minutes until celery is fragrant. Add cooked sweet potatoes to onions and cook a couple minutes longer. Transfer mixture to a serving bowl, add rice wine vinegar and mayonnaise and stir rapidly until mixed well. This can be served warm or chilled and served later.