Fuel Of The Week: 10 Reasons To Eat Potatoes

Potatoes have a wealth of nutritional benefits. Photo: Alexandra Grablewski

This is the season for farm-fresh spuds, and we have an easy recipe for the grill.

1. Potatoes are a great source of complex carbs, which as we know means energy.

2. Your tummy will thank you since they are easy to digest.

3. They can be baked, boiled, mashed, roasted, grilled and even cooked over a campfire. And, yes, they can be fried. Potatoes are the most popular vegetable in the U.S. because they are eaten so often after a hot oil bath. Not the best choice. (Surprise, surprise!)

4. They are high in potassium, good for muscle recovery.

5. Potatoes are also high in vitamin C, which helps your immune system and more.

6. They come in a variety of colors, and thus deliver a variety of other vitamins and minerals and antioxidants.

7. With the skin on, potatoes are high in fiber, which keeps your insides healthy.

8. Alone, they have little to no fat, sodium and cholesterol.

9. They can help you lose weight, since they are low-cal and filling. Just watch what you eat with them. Salsa on potatoes is a healthy, tasty combo.

10. They are in season right now at farms all over the country.

In honor of the potato, we offer a recipe from Susie Middleton’s Fresh From the Farm cookbook (The Taunton Press, 2014).

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Grill-Roasted Fingerlings with Rosemary, Lemon, Sea Salt & Fresh Corn Vinaigrette

I grill potatoes a few different ways, but this is the method I love when I’m looking for hands-off cooking.  I wrap the potatoes and some aromatics in a foil package and put it inside a covered grill. The potatoes steam (thanks to the foil package) and get some yummy caramelization too, from sitting on the grill grates (even through the foil). Serve them straight out of the package or dress with a fresh corn vinaigrette. If you double the recipe, make two separate foil packages for the best results.

Serves 4

Ingredients
— 1 pound fingerling potatoes, cut in half lengthwise and again crosswise if longer than a couple inches

— 3 large shallots (about 4 ounces), peeled and cut into 1⁄2-inch-thick wedges lengthwise

— 1⁄2 lemon (cut in half lengthwise), thinly sliced into half-moons

— 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

— 1 tablespoon roughly chopped fresh rosemary

— 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt, plus more to finish

— Freshly ground black pepper

— 4 handfuls arugula, mizuna, baby mustard or other assertive salad greens, washed and dried (optional)

— 1⁄2 cup Fresh Corn Vinaigrette (recipe follows)

Directions
Heat a gas grill on medium heat (or medium low if your grill runs hot—an internal temp of 350 to 400 degrees is good), or light a charcoal fire and let the coals burn down to medium-low heat. Combine the potatoes, shallots, lemon slices, olive oil, rosemary, sea salt and a few grinds of fresh pepper in a bowl and mix well.

Measure out three sheets of (regular) aluminum foil, each about 20 inches long. Overlap two pieces in a cross pattern. Mound the potato mixture in the middle of the cross and spread it out evenly into a square of even thickness. Fold each piece of foil in and over the potatoes to wrap the package, then wrap the third piece of foil around the package for a good seal.

Put the package directly on the grill grate and cover the grill. Cook for  20 minutes (you’ll hear sizzling). Flip over and cook for 20 to 25 minutes more. Remove the package from the grill and open it carefully with tongs. (It will release hot steam.) The potatoes should be nicely browned in places and will be tender when pierced with a fork or paring knife. If they aren’t tender yet, rewrap and cook for 10 minutes longer.

Arrange the greens (if using) on a small platter or four plates and portion the potatoes and shallots over the greens (keep the lemons in or remove them, as you please). (You may have to peel a few shallots off the foil—if some are very charred, just discard them.) Sprinkle a little more sea salt over the potatoes and spoon over a few tablespoons or as much as you like of the Fresh Corn Vinaigrette. Serve right away.

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Fresh Corn Vinaigrette

I created this fun dressing to top off the Grill-Roasted Fingerlings, but it would be equally good spooned into a fish taco, over sliced tomatoes or tossed with some grilled shrimp.

Makes 1/4 cup

Ingredients
— 1⁄2 cup fresh raw corn kernels, from about 1 ear

— 1⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

— 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar

— 2 teaspoons fresh lemon or lime juice

— 2 teaspoons pure maple syrup

— Kosher salt

— Freshly ground black pepper

— 1 tablespoon sliced fresh chives, cut about 1⁄4 inch long

Directions
Put half of the corn kernels in a medium bowl and use a fork to mash them to release some of their milk. (Depending on the freshness and/or tenderness of the corn, you might have to mash vigorously or only lightly.) Add the olive oil, sherry vinegar, lemon or lime juice, maple syrup, 1⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt and several grinds of black pepper. Whisk well. Stir in the remaining corn kernels and the chives. Store any leftover vinaigrette in the fridge and use within a couple days.

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