Sweet-Potato Leaves

Photo: Danny Kim; Illustrations by John Burgoyne

Vegetable completists who devour every edible part of the plant, from beet green to garlic scape, will relish the sweet-potato leaf, a late-summer harbinger of the iconic Thanksgiving tuber. Although widely consumed in West Africa, Malaysia, and the Philippines, the heart-shaped leaves are rarer here. But now that Greenmarket farms like Bodhitree have added them to their repertoires, you might be seeing more of them: with coconut sambal at Simpson Wong’s eponymous Wong, perhaps, or blanched and simply seasoned, as in this recipe from Takashi chef-owner Takashi Inoue, who often features them on his namul plate of assorted vegetables.

Takashi Inoue’s Namul of Sweet-Potato Leaves

1 bunch sweet-potato leaves
1 tsp. salt
1 tbs. sesame oil
1 tsp. sesame seeds
1 tsp. minced garlic

(1) Remove stems from sweet-potato leaves. (2) Peel off the skin with your fingers, then cut stems into 1-inch strands. (3) In a large saucepan filled with boiling water, blanch the leaves for 10 seconds, then the stems for 45 seconds, and drain well. In a bowl, combine sesame oil, sesame seeds, and minced garlic, and mix well. Serve immediately or let rest up to three hours. Serve as an appetizer or as a palate-cleansing intermezzo.

Sweet-Potato Leaves