Slices of chargrilled yams top a delicious salad of baby spinach, red onion, feta cheese and pine nuts. The salad is a study in contrasting flavors: sweet yams, earthy spinach, salty feta, assertive onion. Dress it with balsamic and honey for the perfect tangy-sweet complement.
Old World yams and New World sweet potatoes are indeed different vegetables. In the US today, the terms are often used interchangeably to describe popular varieties of red-skinned, orange-fleshed tubers with pointed ends. At Earthbound Farm we produce the Garnet and Jewel varieties, which are commonly called yams but are actually sweet potatoes. No matter what you call them, though, they're delicious!
Bring 8 cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan and add the salt. Add the yam slices and simmer until just tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Drain the slices in a single layer until cool.
Brush the slices with the 1-1/2 tablespoons of olive oil and then cook them in a ridged grill pan over high heat (or on a barbecue) until grill marks appear, 2 to 3 minutes. Carefully turn the slices and cook on the other side for 1 minute. Set aside to cool.
While the yams are cooling, make the dressing by whisking together the balsamic vinegar, honey, olive oil and mustard in a small bowl. Taste and season with salt and pepper as you like. Set aside.
When the yams are cool enough to handle, cut the slices in halves or quarters, depending on their size.
Place the spinach and onion in a large bowl and toss. Add half of the balsamic dressing and toss again. Transfer the greens to a large serving platter and scatter the feta and pine nuts over the salad. Add the yams and drizzle them with some of the remaining dressing. Serve immediately.