Food for Thought
Every few years there seems to be another diet trumpeting the need to keep potatoes off your kitchen playlist. When prepared right, however, the humble spud is more of a nutritional saint than a villain.
For sure, there is some bad news: A recent American Journal of Clinical Nutrition study found that people who ate french fries and greasy chips two or more times a week over 8 years had an increased risk of death. (During deep frying, the sugars in potatoes combine with protein to form advanced glycation end products (AGEs), which appear to raise the risk of diseases like cancer. AGE levels are especially high when potatoes are fried in oil that has been used multiple times—a common practice in restaurants.) In addition, frying potatoes has been shown to lower levels of nutrients like vitamin C.
But there is good news, too: In the AJCN study, participants who ate unfried potatoes had no increased risk of death. And many people overlook the fact that budget-friendly potatoes supply several must-have nutrients, including vitamin B6, potassium, vitamin C and manganese.
So go ahead and enjoy this side dish of crispy roasted potatoes bathed in a punchy herb sauce. Both the potatoes and the sauce can be prepared ahead of time, then kept chilled separately for up to 3 days. Rewarm the potatoes in the microwave or oven.
1 lb small (baby) potatoes
2 t canola, grapeseed or safflower oil
½ C parsley
½ C cilantro
2 green onions (scallions), chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 T capers, drained
¼ C extra-virgin olive oil
2 T red-wine vinegar
¼ t salt
¼ t red chili flakes
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, and place a rimmed baking sheet in the oven as it heats. Poke potatoes in a few places with a fork. Place on a microwave-safe plate, cover with paper towel, and heat until tender and just shy of being cooked all the way through, about 6 minutes. Slice potatoes in half or quarters, then toss with oil and a couple of pinches of salt. Spread out potatoes on the hot baking sheet, and roast until cooked through and crispy, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, pulse together parsley, cilantro, green onions, garlic and capers in a food processor until finely chopped. Blend in olive oil, 2 tablespoons water, red-wine vinegar, salt and chili flakes.
Place roasted potatoes in a serving bowl and toss with herb sauce.