Potatoes have gone and got themselves a bit of a bad reputation in recent years, but let’s face it, they taste so good. Do we really need to ditch the humble spud in order to be healthy? Not necessarily. Let’s have a look at some of the facts around potatoes, and you’ll see why I think we can enjoy them, deliciously, as part of a nourishing food life.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the average Australian eats 63 kg of potatoes a year. This is in comparison to just 2 kg of broccoli! (Really…? Who are these people…?) A good (or not so good) proportion of this 63 kg of potatoes is eaten as French fries or potato chips, which we all know are loaded with unhealthy fats and have little to no nutritional value.
But as a veggie in their own right, potatoes aren’t so bad as all that. They are a good are a source of potassium, vitamins C and B6 and also contain a decent amount of fibre. It’s important to note that most of the goodness in potatoes is in the skin, so keep it on wherever you can – just give them a scrub with a veggie brush to clean them up before using.
There are countless varieties of potatoes on the market. I tend to favour the Nicola potato, given that they are a lower-carb variety than others, they’re versatile to use and they taste great, but I can’t resist Sapphire potatoes if they catch my eye at the farmers market; they have an amazing violet colour which is an added visual bonus to their antioxidant properties.
One point that’s worth remembering when buying potatoes is that this is a case where organic is definitely best. Being a root vegetable, potatoes draw in deeply whatever nutrients and chemicals are present in the soil around them, storing them inside their flesh, which we then eat at the table. Conventionally grown potatoes tend to be heavily sprayed, both during the growing season, and again after they’re harvested to prevent them sprouting and so giving them a longer shelf-life. Organic potatoes taste so much better too.
So to sum up, I tend to think of potatoes as the carbohydrate portion of a meal, meaning that I wouldn’t serve them alongside other carbs like bread, rice, pasta or couscous. I certainly wouldn’t have them every day, and fries and chips don’t even get a look in. But when potatoes are in season, there’s no reason not to enjoy them as you would any other freshly harvested bounty from the garden.
This recipe has been adapted from one by Jamie Oliver, which brings together the heavenly flavour combination of potatoes, rosemary, garlic, and salt.
Golden Crispy Potatoes – serves 4
- 1 kg organic potatoes
- 6 large cloves garlic
- 3-4 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- Sea salt flakes
Give all the potatoes a good scrub with a veggie brush and rinse off. Trim off any discoloured parts then cut them into 2-3cm pieces. Put into a large saucepan, and put a kettle of water on to boil.
Flatten the garlic cloves with the edge of a large knife, remove the papery skins, then pop the cloves into the pot with the potatoes.
When the kettle has come to the boil, cover the potatoes with the boiling water, and put the saucepan on the stove to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook until the potatoes are only just tender when tested with a skewer.
Drain the garlic and potatoes into a colander. Place a large frying pan on the heat, and add the olive oil. Add the potatoes, along with the rosemary and a good sprinkling of sea salt flakes. Fry the potatoes, tossing every now and then, until they are golden brown and crispy. Serve at once.