Originally printed in Choices Markets Choices’ Monthly Newsletter – July 2014
Featuring Choices’ Chef Antonio Cerullo
Late spring, early summer, I can’t wait for the fresh crops of new potatoes to arrive in the stores. Creamy white with patches of pink, these tiny tender root vegetables have a delicate flavour and fragrance. What makes this type of potato so unique is its short stint of time underground. There isn’t enough time spent below the dirt for the sugars to turn to starches. And that is what gives new potatoes that buttery, smooth texture I love.
To preserve the prized characteristics of new potatoes, it’s best to use the simplest cooking methods. Gently brush them off under running water and boil for a few minutes. To infuse the potatoes with a bit of extra flavour add a sprig of rosemary or mint to the water. Strain them and toss with a bit of salt and a good quality extra virgin olive oil or butter. Or toss them in salt and oil or butter when they’re raw, roast whole and enjoy.
Plate up new potatoes along side fish. Cube and sprinkle them into an omelet. Cook into stews or casseroles. You can even chop them up raw, add them to your pasta as its cooking then plate as you normally would with pesto or a fresh tomato reduction.
While we’re on the subject, I’d like to take this potato talk a little further. Sure, new potatoes have flavour and texture unmatched. But they’re also healthy. Don’t let the naysayers convince you that just because potatoes are somewhat starchy they offer no nutritional value. Not true. In fact, the phytochemicals found in the skin and flesh potatoes (included new potatoes) are on par with those found in vibrant green vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts and spinach. When you make potatoes part of your meal, you’re also providing your body with valuable nutrients like folic acid, vitamins C and B6 and potassium. If that doesn’t convince you to give these little wonders a go, I’m not sure what will.