“My idea of heaven is a great big baked potato and someone to share it with.” – says Oprah Winfrey. One would not associate the dull looking tuber with romance, now would you? However, this comfort food is as mushy as it is mundane. Grilled, boiled, baked, steamed or fried, it can be had in a variety of ways. Packed with more goodness than we know of, the humble potato, is an integral part of our diet. Having it in the kitchen is like having a world of limitless culinary possibilities that you can explore. It is undoubtedly one of the most versatile ingredients in the kitchen.
Having a bad reputation as food that causes one to gain weight – that’s how the term couch-potato came about; the vegetable can be a very healthy food if cooked the right way. It is not the poor potato but all that grease and fats that go into the making of the irresistible fries and chips or buttered & mashed dollops that are to be blamed. Baking is the best way to have them. The Russet variety with thicker skins and starchy insides are best for baking and has a sweet flavour when baked. A medium-size baked potato is very low in calories and is fat, sodium and cholesterol free, making them suitable for any diet.
The power of the potato doesn’t stop there. A study carried on by nutritionist Sigrid Gibson revealed that potatoes contain more mineral selenium then we get from seeds and nuts. It also brought to light that binging on spuds twice a day can actually lower blood pressure. The potato’s dietary fibre, copper, potassium, manganese, phosphorous, vitamin C and vitamin B-6 content, phytonutrients that have antioxidant activity, coupled with its lack of cholesterol, all support a healthy food habit. A wonder food better than most super-foods this is.
You can create a whole new menu with this unassuming ingredient and can also look at reinventing them which will help you serve them in flavorful ways. Be it creating a BBQ Chicken Potato Skins or a Crustless Cheesy Potato Quiche, constantly try to innovate with this modest kitchen staple. From starters to desserts like a Potato Pancake, a Potato Pie, Yukon Gold Potato Donut or a traditional mashed potato with marshmallows, there is so much you can try your hands on.
When it comes to pleasant potatoes, I will just have one – said no one ever.