THE GOOD SPUD
Don’t knock the humble potato. It’s packed with so much vital stuff, says Susan Jane White, it’s almost a superfood
Spuds are back. Kale is too 2012. Turnip is yet to find a patron. And purple-sprouting broccoli is in rehab. The potato is our national superfood, buzzing with goodness.
All the girlie-sounding spuds are delicious in salads — Desiree, Charlotte, Annabelle, Orla, Emma and Violetta. Think creamy interior; these types of potato are perfectly suited to steaming (they’re what the potato snobs dub ‘waxy').
Steamed potatoes are lower in calories than their baked cousins, and require less flavour enhancers such as salt or butter.
Potatoes are not the dieter's enemy. Some silly celebrity pointed to spuds as their downfall, and sadly, the world took note. I can think of thousands of junk products that should be knocked off our shopping list, but not a veggie.
Potatoes are a terrific source of potassium, which is otherwise known as the hangover healer. If you eat them with their skins on, you'll also wolf down a fair dose of vitamin C to help the body repair any oxidative damage done the night before. Most notably, vitamin B6 and iron can help strengthen the lifecycle of our body's red blood cells.
Not something white rice or pasta can brag about, is it?
So you see, potatoes are not unhealthy. What we do to them can make them unhealthy (creamed, fried and buttered). Our love affair with Irish potatoes needs rekindling. If you're worried about the kegs of butter and salt your family will bathe them in, try a different approach.
Potatoes carry flavour really well, and don't always have to be the stodgy sidekick. Here's one such recipe to get you going. The chia seeds are an optional lah-di-dah in this crab cakes recipe.
These tinchy seeds deliver a whackload of omega-3 brainpower. But if you can still remember how to solve a polynomial root with the factor theorem, you can probably leave them out.
If you can't be bothered making the dipping sauce, just add some miso paste to the mashed potatoes and wrestle some dill in there too. Salmon and smoked mackerel will also work well in this recipe.
CHIA CRAB CAKES WITH VIETNAMESE MINT DIPPING SAUCE
This will make about 10 small crab cakes. For the Vietnamese dipping sauce, you will need: 4-6 tablespoons very finely chopped mint Juice of 1 lime 1 tablespoon fish sauce ( nam pla) 1 tablespoon sesame oil 1 tablespoon tamari soy sauce 1 tablespoon honey 1 finely sliced red chilli, seeds removed For the crab cakes, you will need: 2 tablespoons chopped dried mango, soaked overnight
½ -1 cup crabmeat 1.5 cups lightly mashed potatoes 1 tablespoon chia seeds, soaked in 2 tablespoons water (optional) 1 teaspoon black peppercorns, crushed 1 fat clove garlic, crushed Squeeze of lime Salt and freshly ground black pepper 2 tablespoons flour, to dust Extra-virgin coconut oil, to fry Beansprouts and little gem lettuce, to serve Whisk all the dipping sauce ingredients together to make the dip.
To make the crab cakes, drain the soaked mango pieces (fresh mango won't work as well). Put them in a bowl, add the crabmeat, the mashed potatoes, the chia seeds, if you’re using them, the peppercorns, the crushed garlic, the lime juice, the salt and freshly ground black pepper and mash everything together using a fork. Use your hands to make into individual crabcakes — you should get about 10 altogether. Dust each one with flour. Heat a large frying pan with a little coconut (or other) oil, and briefly brown each crab cake. Allow to cool completely before serving, otherwise they'll fall apart in your hands and you'll curse me. Serve with beansprouts and little gem lettuce.