Wednesday, March 16, 2011

In Defense of Potatoes (Plus, 12 Potato Recipes)

A few weeks ago, in a post entitled How to Buy the USDA-Recommended 4.5 Cups of Fruits and Vegetables for $2.50 Per Day, I argued against buying corn, lettuce, and potatoes in favor of other vegetables. Also, I may have written the following:

Among the produce counted towards the $2.50 total are 
white potatoes and corn, starchy vegetables not exactly known 
for being powerhouses of vitamins and minerals.


Though tasty and inexpensive, 
potatoes are somewhat lacking in the nutrient department.

Several readers called me out on the statements, and rightfully so. Looking back, I gave short shrift to spuds, which are actually quite healthy when not drenched in oil and deep fried. Somewhere, my Irish ancestors are looking down from the heavens, flipping birds and cursing the anti-tater dummy they unknowingly begat – the one who so callously dissed the very calorie-dense food that sustained them through generations of largely absent nutrition. Yep - the very same edible that’s lack drove them clear to another country, if they were lucky enough not to die of starvation first.

In penance, I would like to prove conclusively that potatoes are better than me. Defending spuds will be Liz Conant of the United States Potato Board, a lovely organization dedicated to the advancement of potatoes in American culture. Defending me will be me.

To accomplish this, I've set up a comparative chart, pitting our most prominent qualities against each other in a tater/blogger battle for the ages. Specific criteria are listed in the first column. Liz's answers are in the second column, and mine are in the third. The winner of each is proclaimed in the fourth and final column, and the quantitative victor is named at the end. You have to click on it to read. (Sorry 'bout that.)

As you can see, Liz housed me. Potatoes clearly win Battle CHG, and as such, I rescind my former anti-spud statements. In fact, here are 12 potato recipes to make it up to you:

Baked Loaded Potato Skins
Chili-Spiced Potatoes
Chorizo and Potato Fritata
Dijon Roasted Potatoes
Mashed Potatoes with Leeks and Sour Cream
Meatless Shepherd's Pie
Miso Mashed Potatoes
Pasta with Lemon, Potatoes, and Cannellini
Potato Gnocchi
Potato Leek Soup with Kale
Potato Salad for Rainy Day People
Roasted Red Potatoes

For more information on the potato and its nutritive qualities (which are manifest, I promise), head over to the U.S. Potato Board's website.

Readers, how do you feel about potatoes? When and where do you buy them on sale? What are your favorite potato recipes? Have you ever gone face to face with a potato and lost? Please fire away in the comment section. Oh, and Happy St. Patty's Day!


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RoanokeBob said...

You crack me up sometimes! Love the blog!

My relatives escaped the Great Famine. My great-grandfather owned an onion farm in Fairfield, CT. I think I am therefore genetically predisposed for craving home fries (crispy) with onions. That and the traditional Irish holiday feast - a six-pack of Guinness and a potato.

Rach said...

Potatoes = the way to my heart. They've been my favorite food forever. I love them made into hashbrowns, twice baked with blue cheese, mashed, roasted with mustard (definitely a cheap, healthy and good recipe - just slather some quartered red potatoes with a mixture of whole grain mustard, chopped garlic and a little olive oil and pop those suckers in the oven), or just baked and topped with any number of toppings. Baked potatoes are a great go-to dinner (add black beans, salsa and sour cream for a Mexican theme, or broccoli and cheddar, or whatever...the list is infinite) and great for one person.

As a personal aside, my fiance and I are waiting on some big news on Thursday (residency match, anyone?) and are going out for a special dinner to celebrate. We made reservations at this place that does a special midweek tasting menu that revolves around a different ingredient each week. On Sunday, we got the email: this week's theme? Potatoes. I'm expecting very good news will follow this wonderful announcement. said...

Easy potato recipe: Hash Browns.

Simply grate the potatoes, squeeze out the excess water, and pan-fry.

Hint: be generous with oil when pan-frying hash browns ... they "brown" to a better crunch this way.

Sally said...

I love spuds. A baked potato and a salad is one of my favorites easy meals. Maybe not quick (I HATE nuked spuds), but certainly little effort. The spud can be topped with so many things. One of my favorites was the potato topped with leftover brisket and vegetables -- kind of beef stew on a potato.

Green potatoes from Laurel's Kitchen. Baked potato cut in half and potato mixed with a little milk, chopped lightly cooked broccoli and grated cheese. Scoop back into shells and bake until cheese melts and everything is heated through.

Another favorite: The Poorman's Meal (or any one of a number of variations):

Potato, onion and red pepper fritatta.

Given that tomorrow is St. Patrick's day: Colcannon. Potato-y, buttery colcannon. Note to self: eat light on Friday!

I love hashed browns with a fried egg on top.

One of several varieties of potato soup or potato salad.

And occasionally, french fries. These aren't fast, but they're worth the time (again, occasionally:

The tighter my budget gets, the more potatoes I eat!

Kara said...

I love potatoes and I hate that the anti-carb crowd has made them into the enemy. Also, I wish people would come to appreciate the flavor of potatoes AS potatoes, and not smothered in goop or deep fried (although, mind you a deep fried potato is a thing of joy!).

Plain baked potato with a little salt and pepper is really really good and very healthy (even more so if you eat the skin).

Pioneer Woman's recipe for crash potatoes is also delish - olive oil and salt, pepper, and a bit of rosemary make them perfect.

Potatoes are wonderful, healthy, yummy things ... don't dis them! :)

Anonymous said...

Very funny! Love it!

motherrimmy said...

I think you hit on the key when it comes to potatoes. Often the potato is drenched in less than healthy toppings. On it's own it's terrific. I love mine tossed in olive oil, fresh herbs and roasted in the oven. Delish!

Colin said...

Irishman here.

One of my favourite ways to eat spuds is in champ: mashed with plenty of chopped scallions (spring onions) and a little warmed milk. (Unhealthier types use cream.) Serve with salt, a knob of butter/margarine and a glass of milk on the side.

flybigd said...

LOL, fabulous chart!