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Friday, May 17, 2024

Benny’s Big Time Pizzeria’s bagna càuda sweet potato skins recipe by Vivian Howard

Vivian Howard's fried sweet potato skins with bagna càuda served as an appetizer at Benny's Big Time Pizzeria. (Port City Daily photo /JOHANNA FEREBEE)
Vivian Howard’s fried sweet potato skins with bagna càuda served as an appetizer at Benny’s Big Time Pizzeria. (Port City Daily photo / JOHANNA FEREBEE)

Benny’s Big Time Pizzeria opened in December 2017 and is owned by North Carolina Chef Vivian Howard. Howard shared the recipe for one of the pizzeria’s most popular starters, sweet potato skins smothered in bagna càuda sauce. Bagna càuda is an Italian sauce made with anchovies, garlic and olive oil.


  • Roasted sweet potato, flesh scooped out and reserved for another use
  • Vegetable oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup shallot
  • 15 anchovies 
  • 1/2 tbs chili flake
  • 1 tbs garlic
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice 


Cut your sweet potato skins into strips or wedges. Add enough oil to a saute pan so that it climbs about a third of an inch up the pan’s sides. Heat the oil over medium heat and brown the skins on both sides. Some parts of the skin will be browner than others. Drain the skins on paper towels and season them liberally with kosher salt.

To make the bagna càuda sauce, combine all ingredients and pour over roasted skins.


Recipe courtesy of Vivian Howard, Benny’s Big Time Pizzeria and the National Sweet Potato Convention. More recipes and information on Howard and North Carolina sweet potatoes can be found at and

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