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Looking for versatility at the dinner table? Reach for a potato!

Read: Recipes

Looking for versatility at the dinner table? Reach for a potato!

Pallas Erdrich

There's a reason potatoes are a standby: They can be used in so many culinary ways. 

Tom Wallace

Tom Wallace

Gotta love potatoes, which are not only comforting, versatile and easy to cook, but also always in season. Well, not really. There is a difference between those just harvested and potatoes stored in the bin for months. Fresh potatoes from nearby farms reflect the quality of the soil in which they are grown, like potatoes from the Driftless Area along the Mississippi River that evoke the mineral essence of its limestone cliffs.

Potatoes are the world’s most popular vegetable and the fourth-biggest crop (after wheat, corn and rice). The world of potatoes is defined by the spud’s starch content. Low-starch, high-moisture or waxy potatoes (aka boiling potatoes) are great for gratins and potato salad. These can turn gummy when whipped for mashed potatoes. High-starch potatoes (aka bakers) puff up to be light and fluffy in the oven and when boiled make terrific, airy mashers. Medium-starch potatoes such as Yukon Gold and Yellow Finn and Red Bliss are great in just about any dish.

No matter what the variety, new potatoes, about 1½ inches in diameter, are best when cooked quickly and treated delicately. Once blanched, they are wonderful in stir fries, sautés and salads, and can take the place of pasta or rice in any dish. Their natural starches help thicken the sauce and enrich a soup or stew.

Potatoes are a natural in curry recipes. They’ll turn a lovely gold, thanks to the spices, provide a neutral balance to the curry’s heat, and make a vegetarian meal more substantial. The potatoes can be cooked ahead and then added just before the dish is served. Unlike more mature potatoes that can be stored in a cool, dark place for several months, new potatoes turn soft and rancid quickly. Enjoy them now before they grow up!

Mette Nielsen

Mette Nielsen

Indian Inspired Spinach and Potatoes

Serves 4 as a side dish, 2 as a main dish.

Note: You can add cooked chicken, pork or shrimp to make this meal heartier, but it’s very satisfying as a vegetarian dish

• 1 lb. new potatoes, scrubbed

• 1 tbsp. unsalted butter

• 2 garlic cloves, smashed

• 1 onion, thinly sliced

• 1 small green jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped

• 1/2 tsp. mild curry powder

• 2 tbsp. fresh lime juice

• 2 tbsp. water, or more as needed

• 1 1/2 lb. fresh spinach, trimmed, washed and shredded

• Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

• Plain Greek yogurt for garnish, optional

• Chopped fresh cilantro for garnish, optional

Directions

Put the potatoes into a large, deep pot with enough water to cover by 2 inches. Set over high heat, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the potatoes are just tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and cool. Slice the potatoes 1 inch thick and set aside.

In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-low heat and add the garlic, onion and jalapeño, and cook until the vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the curry powder, lime juice and water to make a thin sauce. Gently toss in the potatoes, then toss in the spinach. Cover the pan and continue cooking until the potatoes are warmed through and the spinach is just wilted, about 3 to 5 minutes. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Garnish with the yogurt and cilantro, and serve.

Nutrition information per each of 4 servings:

Calories 156 Fat 4 g Sodium 106 mg

Carbohydrates 28 g Saturated fat 2 g Calcium 160 mg

Protein 6 g Cholesterol 8 mg Dietary fiber 6 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1 vegetable, 1 ½ bread/starch, 1 fat.

Originally Published by The Star Tribune