Roasted Four-way Potatoes

October 31, 2010 at 10:02 am Leave a comment

Ever gone to a restaurant and  ordered the combination plate?  Sometimes I jokingly call it – “the indecision plate.”  Can’t decide what you want – so, you get a little of everything.

That’s what these roasted four-way potatoes are like.  But really brilliant. It’s perfect when you want a lot of color on the side of your plate in a starchy side dish.  Which is surprising because starches like potatoes, rice and pasta are typically white unless you add color with bits of bell pepper, scallions or whatever you like.

What I love about these potatoes is they contain the rich, gorgeous colors of fall. But they have an effortless ease – like a comfortable pair of jeans that always fit just right.

And remember, the darker the colors on your plate when it comes to fruits and vegetables – the more antioxidant rich they are.  Sweet potatoes and purple potatoes are less starchy and lower on the glycemic index scale. Which means they don’t turn as quickly to sugar in your body as white potatoes causing your insulin to soar.  All this means they’re more nutritious and better for you.

You can pair these roasted potatoes with almost any protein: steak, a piece of grilled chicken or fish.  Keep your protein choice and green vegetable pretty simple because you already have so much dazzling color going on.  What you see in the picture is a combination of redskin, purple, sweet potatoes and Yukon Gold potatoes.  Most are commonly available at grocery stores.  At Trader Joes, where I like to shop, you can buy a bag with a combination of the redskin, purple and Yukon Gold potatoes.  Just grab a sweet potato to round out the dish and the colors.

Okay, let’s get started:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  You’ll need a baking sheet with sides on it.  If you use a cookie sheet without sides I’m afraid the potatoes will fall off to the bottom of the oven.  Hey, voice of experience speaking here.

Eyeball the quantity you’ll need.  Most of the time I’m only cooking for two people. However leftovers are a beautiful thing.  You can pair these potatoes with dinner.  The next morning reheat them in the toaster oven while you whip up some scrambled eggs for breakfast.  Cook more than you think you’ll need for two reasons: 1) Potatoes shrink when you roast ’em in the oven. 2) These potatoes go fast.  People love ’em.

Here’s what I used to cook the potatoes you see above which made about four nice servings.

1, medium to large sweet potato, peeled

2-3 small-ish redskin potatoes

2-3 small-ish Yukon Gold potatoes

2-3 purple potatoes

1 small onion, white or yellow

Extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt

Fresh cracked pepper

Cut the potatoes into chunks about 3/4 -inch to one inch in size. Put on your baking pan.  Toss with a little olive oil until all the potatoes are lightly coated.  Salt and pepper to taste and toss again.  Place in the preheated oven and bake for 25 minutes.

While the potatoes are cooking dice the onion into about 1/4-inch pieces. Toss the onion with a little olive oil, salt and pepper.  Take the partially cooked potatoes out of the oven.  Use a spatula to turn them over.  Distribute the onions spread over the top and return to the oven.  Just a warning: because the onions are so much smaller if they’re added at the beginning of the roasting process rather than in the middle they will cook faster and turn into little black pieces.  So, it’s important to add them later after the potatoes are partially cooked.

Bake another 15-20 minutes.  Serve hot.

Here’s a little history about potatoes:

Potatoes originated in the Andes Mountains of South America. Pre-Columbian farmers grew potatoes 7,000 years ago. Western man didn’t encounter potatoes until the mid 1500s when the Spanish Conquistadors arrived in Peru.

In 1570 potatoes arrived in Europe. They were considered food for the underclasses, used primarily to feed hospital inmates. In the 1600s potatoes spread throughout Europe. There was resistance due to it’s reputation as food for the under-priveleged.

In the 1780’s potatoes finally gained prominence in Europe.  The potato’s acceptance in Ireland spread due to its ability to produce abundant, nutritious food in small acreage. The tuber contains most of the vitamins needed for sustenance. However, by the mid-1800’s the Irish were so dependent on this crop, its failure created a famine.

In France, the potato was imposed on society by an intellectual, Antoine Parmentier. He saw the nutritional benefits combined with its productive capacity as a boon to French farmers. He was so enamored by potatoes he determined it should become French diet staple.

Gradually potatoes gained acceptance across Europe. As mass migrations of Europeans, especially in Ireland made their way to North America the potato came along, too. Today, potatoes are common in the Western diet.

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Entry filed under: Adventurous Foodie, Sizzling Sides.

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