The potato. A curious creature. I am a self-described carb fiend. For all of my unprocessed food loves–eggplant, raspberries, peaches, artichoke, fresh whipped hummus, almonds and walnuts–I have to say that I love me some bread. The softer, nuttier, browner, the better. Though, I do enjoy ciabatta and a good baguette, I luckily prefer the healthier kinds of bread (aside from the freshly-baked banana bread currently cooling, half-eaten, on my oven rack).
For the most part, my love of carbs revolves around processed breads, pastas and pizzas. But two meals this week have reminded me about the other beloved carb–the potato. Like bread, a potato is a canvass for all wonderful things. Mashed to creamy perfection and garnished with chives and butter, sauteed to slightly crisp with olive oil, onions and parsley, and baked in an open fire giving the world one of the best afterthoughts I could imagine: The slightly crisp, slightly hard, nubby brown, smoky potato skin.
In Portugal, where I spent a lovely 10 days with my friend Maggie this past October, the potato is a staple alongside fresh grilled fish (in the above case, sardines) and is served naked, save for a mild garnish of herbs or butter. One of my favorite side dishes to some chicken on a busy weeknight is a tossed bundle of small red potatoes with olive oil, rosemary (fresh or dried) and sea salt. Roasted for about 30-35 minutes in a 350 degree oven, they’re divine topped with a shaving of Parmesan cheese.
Being a foodie and all, sometimes it’s hard to remember that some of the best things in life don’t come in the prettiest packages and often times, can be overlooked.