Ode to the Potato

Oh Potato, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways: You are creamy yet firm. Soft but crisp. Brilliantly accompanied by both butter and garlic. Can be mashed or roasted. Oh how you fill my dreams and dazzle my tastebuds. May there never be a day without you dearest, oh dearest, potato.

Holy jeez do I love potatoes! I never grew up eating potatoes, as they were a dreaded white starch that supposedly provided no nutritional value along with unwanted weight gain. I remember a visit to my cousins' house where I stood in shock as they lovingly whipped together mashed potatoes. "Mashed potatoes?", I thought. "They must really have no care for their health at all!" What a little judgemental snit I was. I was completely misinformed and always looking for the newest "health danger" to avoid. From a very early age I was obsessed with food and its consequences, both good and bad. I was also terribly impressionable so whatever I heard I took as fact. Years later, while working my first receptionist job at the local Fantastic Sams (yes, I know!) I stopped eating carrots because I overheard a stylist say, "You know, carrots are totally loaded with sugar. And sugar makes you fat!" I should have questioned the information, knowing this was the same woman who downed diet coke and a Slim Fast bar every day for lunch. But no. She had said the dreaded F-A-T word and that's all I needed to hear.

Fast forward 13 years to find myself eating my own potato-bashing words. So let's just clear the air once and for all. Potatoes are a healthy food. That's right, I said it! They are a great source of vitamin C and also contain beneficial amounts of vitamin b6, potassium and fiber. So what about the information that potatoes are a high glycemic index food and can raise insulin levels? As it turns out, if potatoes are eating along side other foods that are high in fiber and contain a bit of protein and good fat, insulin levels stay calm. AMAZING! We must also remember that not all potato dishes are created equal. There is quite a difference between potatoes au gratin and a baked or roasted potato with a bit of organic butter. Some dishes are certainly a better choice than others so we must consider how the potatoes are prepared.

So here is my favorite roasted potato recipe. I've also recently discovered heirloom potatoes that are seriously, directly from heaven. Just like the divine nature of an heirloom tomato, these potatoes provide the quintessential potato experience; starchy, flaky, and just a tad sweet. So where can you can get these potatoes? From Little Farm that comes to the Berkeley Tuesday Farmer's Market, the Ferry Building Saturday Market, and the Temescal Sunday Market. Can you tell I'm their new stalker?

Perfectly Roasted Potatoes

Serves 2-3

2 pounds heirloom or organic roasting potatoes, washed and quartered 2 garlic cloves, chopped 1 tbs. fresh rosemary, chopped 2 tbs. extra virgin olive oil 1 tsp. sea salt

Place a cast iron skillet into the oven and preheat it to 415 degrees. Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Transfer the quartered potato into the pot with a pinch a slat and allow to cooking for 5-7 minutes. Drain the potatoes in a colander and let them cook for a few minutes.

Toss the potatoes with garlic, rosemary, olive oil and sea salt and transfer to the hot pan in the oven. Bake for 30-40 minutes, making sure to turn the potatoes every 10 minutes or so. Potaotes are down when they have a nice crisp exterior. Enjoy!

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