Brits love spuds – everyone in the UK consumes around 450 medium sized potatoes a year (British Potato Council) but are they good for us? Potatoes are underground tubers and store all the vitamins and minerals needed for growing new potato plants in spring, which makes the potato nutrient-dense, so that we get many nutrients for the amount of calories.
The fibre is half soluble, half insoluble and helps to keep you regular and helps to lower cholesterol, with the added benefit of slowing down digestion which in turn helps to keep you feeling fuller for longer. With the exception of vitamin A, white potatoes contain just about every nutrient. They are also very high in foliate and minerals such as potassium, magnesium and iron and exceedingly rich in vitamin B6, a needed for cellular renewal, a healthy nervous system and a balanced mood. The B vitamins also protect arteries, which is great for your heart. Surprisingly, just one baked potato offers about 20 percent of the daily-recommended amount of vitamin B6
19th Century English and Spanish sailors ate potatoes to fend off scurvy because they are incredibly rich in immune-boosting Vitamin C. A medium potato (150g) with the skin provides 27mg, almost half of the recommended daily intake. As the Italian new potato season starts in November many of us will be buying and looking for new ways to cook with potatoes, so why not try a couple of these tasty recipes:
Zesty pesto warm potato salad
Pesto’s not just for pasta! It’s perfect for adding a rich Italian flavour to potatoes. Balanced by lemon and a little vinegar it makes a fantastically tasty potato salad, which is delicious served fresh and warm as an accompaniment to a light fish or chicken dish.
1kg Italian seasonal new potatoes
For the dressing:
Zest and juice of 1 lemon , 2 tbsp pesto, 5 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar, 2 cloves garlic (very finely chopped) 3 tsp capers, drained, Salt & black pepper to season
Mix all dressing ingredients together and set aside. Wash the potatoes and cut larger ones in half. Boil or steam potatoes until tender, then drain and tip them back into the pan. Add the dressing to the steaming hot potatoes and mix well to infuse all the flavours.
Roast potatoes with crispy sage leaves and Sicilian lemon
A fresh-tasting and satisfying dish, perfect with fish or chicken or as a delicious warm buffet dish.
1kg Italian seasonal new potatoes , 10 -15 fresh sage leaves, 1 unwaxed lemon (cut in half and seeds removed) 2 - 3 tbsp of olive oil for cooking, Salt & black pepper to season.
Pre-heat oven to 2000C. Wash the potatoes and cut larger ones in half. Boil or steam the potatoes for around five minutes until they’re just slightly tender, but not fully cooked. Drain, then toss them in enough olive oil to coat well and arrange them in single layer on oven tray. Add the lemon and season lightly. Roast for around 30 minutes, turning occasionally until the potatoes are cooked and golden. Heat a small amount of olive oil in a frying pan and quick-fry the sage leaves for 5 - 10 seconds (they should darken and go crisp). As soon as they’re done, remove from the pan and drain on a sheet of kitchen paper. Take the roast potatoes out of the oven and squeeze the lemon halves over them. Crumble the crispy sage leaves onto the potatoes and serve.
Spinach, ricotta and tomato frittata
Delicious served still slightly warm with a green salad or even in a packed lunch.
500g Italian seasonal new potatoes , 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 large onion red (finely sliced) 300g cherry tomatoes , 100g spinach leaves, a handful of fresh basil leaves, 100g ricotta, 6 eggs (well beaten) Salt & black pepper to season.
Pre-heat the oven to 200 oC. Wash the potatoes and boil or steam them until they’re tender. Drain and cut into bite-sized chunks. Gently heat the oil in a frying pan and add the red onion and potatoes. Cook for around 5 minutes, then add the cherry tomatoes and cook for 2 - 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, add the spinach and basil leaves and allow them to wilt for around 2 minutes. Mix gently then turn in to a greased 30 x 20cm baking tin. Dot the ricotta across the vegetable mix. Season the beaten eggs and pour into the tin. Cook in a pre-heated oven (200) for 20-25 mins until the egg mix is cooked. Allow to cool and set before serving.
Italian Elvira new potatoes are available exclusively at Tesco week commencing 5 November.