Q: I enjoy the sweet potato salad at the Basket Case Deli in Washington, Mo. It has cubed sweet potatoes and is topped with pecans. Our waitress told us the dressing has "Dijon mustard, honey and just enough mayo to hold it together."
— Rosalie M. Laune, New Haven
A: A year ago, chefs Jacob Schneider and Don DeCecco brainstormed ideas for a new fall menu for Basket Case Deli, the restaurant they had bought in 2009.
"Lots of delis make a good potato salad, but we couldn't think of one that makes a good salad from sweet potatoes," Schneider says. They toyed with different dressings, then returned to the basics. "Those first salads were just too different," he says. "Simple is almost always better."
Apparently, customers agreed. Within a couple of months, sweet potato salad sales surged. "Now we just have one potato salad," Schneider says. "And it's made with sweet potatoes."
On Nov. 16, Basket Case will host a beer tasting and four-course dinner with beers from O'Fallon Brewery. On the side? A scoop of sweet potato salad topped with toasted pecans.
Special Request is written by Kirkwood resident Alanna Kellogg, author of the online recipe column KitchenParade.com and "veggie evangelist" at the food blog about vegetables, A Veggie Venture.