Purple Potatoes

June 22, 2009

Potatoes are a good example of how a slightly different decision at the market can renew a common staple. We picked up some Purple Peruvians because that is what looked best. Rich in color, they are less starchy compared to the common all-purpose potatoes and healthier too (more color, more phytonutrients). Just as purple on the inside, cut them in half, drizzle with olive oil, add salt and freshly ground pepper, and roast with a few cloves of garlic for a beautiful, simple side.

Tip: Use high-starch potatoes (Russets, Bintje, Castle Rock) for baking and frying. Starchy potatoes have a dry, mealy flesh, which makes a baked potato fluffy. If you boil a baking potato it will fall apart. Low-starch potatoes (Red Bliss, Yellow Finn, Red Russian, etc.) are the ones to boil and use in stews, salads, mashes, and gratins – they absorb liquids. A test to tell: If you are not sure what kind of potato you’ve got, slice one with a sharp knife. If the knife is coated with a foam or the potato grabs to the knife, then it’s starchy and should be baked, not boiled.

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