Ryan Donahue of Donahue Photography
Michael Thiemann of Ella Dining Room & Bar in Sacramento uses sweet potato leaves as raw “greens” in this grilled octopus dish with fried and preserved lemons, turnips, and an oozing soft-boiled egg.
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Sweet Potato Leaves

Farmer Lee Jones / February 11th, 2013

You’d be ill advised to eat the leaves of a potato plant, but our sweet potato leaves are a deliciously different story. We grow them in a special way that produces a tender leaf with a neon yellow hue. We’ve seen them in everything from sushi to mixed drinks and desserts. These leaves can be stir-fried, sautéed, or used in sauces and soups.

Executive chef Michael Thiemann of Ella Dining Room & Bar in Sacramento included them as raw “greens” in this grilled octopus dish with fried and preserved lemons, and turnips. The oozy goodness of a soft-boiled egg tops off the presentation, and you can’t go wrong with that.

Thiemann says that he chose to use the sweet potato leaves because, quite simply, they “looked interesting and tasted really good.” He describes the taste as having notes of nuts and honeysuckle, which contribute a “critical flavor element to the dish.” The leaves also add visual impact to the presentation. Thiemann thinks of them as the “anti-micro herb,” since they cover the plate and give substantial presence to the dish.