The poor potato has had a bad wrap in recent years with a lot of people wrongly equating it to spreading waist lines and other health related hyperbole. It doesn’t help that growers and supermarkets have eschewed traditional tasty breeds (along with their shorter harvesting season) in favour of an easier to harvest alternative their flavour has dramatically diminished (in my opinion anyway) leaving a lot of us reaching for cooking methods that more than make up for any lack of taste but do nothing for their unhealthy reputation. And to be fair, who doesn’t love a creamy, buttery mash? But luckily summer is upon us now bringing gorgeous new potatoes with it and no need for all that butter to make them shine.
Believe it or not, all potatoes are surprisingly good for you if you treat them right. They are rich in vitamin C and high in fibre (assuming that you eat the skin of course). They’re also a great source of potassium and B vitamins providing 21% of your RDA of B6 (so helping your cells to renew themselves and you to produce those vital mood stabilisers serotonin and dopamine). And, not surprisingly for a vegetable, are low in fat. Providing of course, that you don’t chip them and drop them in a deep fat fryer. The absolute king of them all has to be the baby new potatoes that are everywhere right about now. Buy them as close to home as possible and as fresh as possible and you’ll really notice the difference. You can’t beat them as a side, boiled in their skins with a sprig or two or mint then doused with olive oil and lemon juice but if you fancy ringing the changes a bit they are the perfect spring board for a meat free summer meal. Mine all love this recipe; they think they’re eating potato salad, I think they’re eating a salad so everybody stays happy. Top it off my favourite way with a perfectly poached egg for a slightly more decadent feel or serve it as a side to some griddled halloumi if you’re having more luck with the barbecue weather than we are at the moment. Although, to be fair, summer only officially started yesterday so the halloumi option may well get a look in yet.
Warm New Potato, Broad Bean and Artichoke Salad.
Bunch asparagus (about 12 spears)
6-8 cooked artichoke hearts (if you don’t know how to prepare them from fresh a good link to follow is here, or get them in a jar)
500g new potatoes
6 tomatoes, diced roughly
350g podded broad (fava) beans or a 400g tin flageolet beans
4 tbsp kefir (if you can’t hold of any, use natural yoghurt instead)
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp mustard
1 clove garlic
A good pinch of sea salt
Around 6 mint leaves, shredded
Start by making the dressing.
Crush the garlic and leave to one side for ten minutes or so to allow the allicin to develop.
Mix the lemon juice through the kefir or yoghurt then stir through the mustard, mint leaves, sea salt and garlic.
Scrub your new potatoes and boil them for around fifteen minutes.
Whilst they are cooking, snap the woody ends of the asparagus and slice each spear into 3. Throw these in with the potatoes for the last 3 minutes of cooking.
When the potatoes are cooked, drain them and add the diced tomatoes to the pan. Shake the pan gently so that the tomatoes get a bit bashed up, then add the artichokes and beans and pour over your dressing.
Serve when it’s still warm, but not piping hot, giving you time to get those eggs on.