The potato is a new world food cultured first in Peru. Not long after its discovery by Europeans it quickly became a staple throughout Europe, Asia, and Africa. It is a rich source of a number of nutrients including vitamin C. One seventeenth century English writer observed that the Scots and English all appeared scrawny and undernourished compared to the Irish and attributed the difference to the superiority of the the potato as a staple food. One nutritional tome suggests that a person could live indefinitely on a diet of milk and potatoes. It seems a little far fetched, but only a little.
The potato has been assaulted widely because its simple starches are so quickly absorbed, making it a food not well tolerated by the very sedentary. But this does not change the fundamental suitability of the potato as a food, especially for the active.We do need to be judicious about serving size. And sometimes we need to cook the potato into more complex dishes where it plays a supporting role.
Below are a few recipes in which the spud is the feature.
The classic treatment of the potato is as the baked potato. It is one of the simplest foods to prepare. And it can be the basis of a wonderful meal.
The waxy or new potato is sometimes overlooked because nobody really likes boiled potatoes very much, and this is the normal way of preparing boiled potatoes. Those who are wary of consuming the amount of starch in a baked potato might enjoy potatoes riced. One can start with a smaller potato. And since a waxy potato has less starch, pound for pound, than a baking potato, this reduces the starch load further. Finally, ricing makes the potato both more enjoyable and more satisfying, so it is easier to eat less. And it hardly takes ten seconds to rice a potato.
They are crunchy and golden on the outside, tender on the inside, and warm. For some years I coveted the perfect home fries. Even today I long to be an expert in the art of making perfect home fries. Here is a start.
It is crucial to cook them relatively slowly and painstakingly. And it is crucial to use butter. One can make hash browns in approximately the same way, except one would grate the potatoes after chilling overnight. One might also use more butter.
This classic ethnic dish is loved by all. The golden brown potato crust on latkes is what every french fry and potato chip dreams of being. Be sure to limit the size of these, for they simply will not cook through if they are too large..
There are at least twice as many potato gratin recipes as there are cooks who would make them regularly, because there are several distinctive styles of gratins. One is the style of the scalloped potato which combines potato slices with a white sauce composed of cream and flour. This is an old staple that is worthy of a come-back. A second style is much simpler. It is potato slices painstakingly layered in a baking dish to a thickness of no more than an inch, wetted on both surfaces with a thin layer of butter, then baked until top and bottom are crunchy golden brown and the center is soft and creamy. The Yukon Gold is the potato of choice for this treatment. And that's about all there is to the recipe. Use a mandoline or a food processer's thinnest sliceing disc to slice the potatoes. Bake for about an hour at 350F. Probably it is best to cover them with foil for the first twenty or thirty minutes.
Copyright S.R. Brubaker 2002 - 2006.