Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Apple and Sage-Maple Butter

roastedRoasted sweet potatoes have a lush, tender texture and concentrated flavor. When paired with maple syrup and apples, they make a deliciously sweet side that works with anything from pan-seared steak to roasted turkey or pork loin. Use a firm, tart Granny Smith apple or try a crisp, slightly sweeter Honey Crisp or Pink Lady. Adapted by Danielle from a recipe from Fine Cooking and demoed September 23, 2014 at US Botanic Garden.

1½  to 2 lb. sweet potatoes, peeled, halved crosswise, and cut into ¾-inch thick wedges
2 T olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 T unsalted butter
2 medium-large tart green or red apple, quartered, cored, cut into wedges halved crosswise
1 T chopped fresh sage, plus 1 T more for garnish
1½ t fresh lemon juice
1 t pure maple syrup
Toasted pecan halves, for garnish (optional)

Position a rack in the top third of the oven and heat the oven to 475̊F.
In a large bowl, toss the sweet potatoes with the oil, 1 tsp. salt, and a few grinds of black pepper. Spread the potatoes in a single layer on a large, rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 20 minutes; then flip the potatoes and continue roasting until tender and browned in spots, about 5-10 minutes more.

While the potatoes roast, heat the butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until melted and beginning to brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the apples in a single layer and brown on both sides, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Add the sage and stir until wilted, about 30 seconds. Off the heat, stir in the lemon juice and maple syrup. With a spatula, scrape the apples and butter into the bowl used for tossing the potatoes.
When the potatoes are done, add them to the apples and gently combine with the spatula. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve, garnished with toasted pecans and additional fresh chopped sage.

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