Some nights I like a really simple dinner. As simple as a warm potato on top of some fresh, crunchy greens. But I don't always have the patience to wait the hour or so it can take to bake a potato in the oven. And although it is an option, I'm not crazy about partly cooking potatoes in the microwave to reduce baking time. Impatient yet picky is a actually a good way to describe how I feel about dinner on busy days. I'm sure you can relate.
Fortunately, I've figured out a way to enjoy a good potato relatively quickly while not compromising quality. This time of year, as farmers are nearing the end of their stored crops, you'll find many smaller potatoes available at the market. There is nothing wrong with these, in fact, I prefer them because they cook quicker. Slice these guys in half before baking and it's even less time before you're digging in to their velvety flesh.
It's important to keep the skin on while baking. And then, to actually eat the skins. Although you might have heard otherwise, potatoes are not simply an unhealthy white starch as they're so often considered. When you also eat the skins, employ cooking methods other than frying, and pass on the high fat toppings, potatoes are a healthy food.
According to The World's Healthiest Foods,
"A new analytical method developed by Agricultural Research Service plant geneticist Roy Navarre has identified 60 different kinds of phytochemicals and vitamins in the skins and flesh of 100 wild and commercially grown potatoes. Analysis of Red and Norkotah potatoes revealed that these spuds' phenolic content rivals that of broccoli, spinach and Brussels sprouts, and includes flavonoids with protective activity against cardiovascular disease, respiratory problems and certain cancers."
Remember that phytochemicals are what give foods their color and are an indication of nutrients - exactly what we're talking about when we think about eating colors like the brown skins of potatoes.
Mustard Roasted Potato Halves
- 1/2 cup whole grain Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for dressing
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 - 2 potatoes per person, depending on size
Preheat your oven to 425F.
Rinse the potatoes under water and scrub off any dirt with a clean kitchen towel. Slice the potatoes in half lengthwise. If desired, create a cross hatch pattern in the flesh of the potato to speed up the cooking time even more. But I've found this tends to dry out them out a bit in the process.
Whisk remaining ingredients together in a medium sized bowl and then dip each of the potato halves in the mustard mixture to coat. Save remaining mixture. Place the potatoes in baking dish and transfer to the oven. Roast the potatoes for 20 minutes. Turn the potatoes with a fork and put back into the oven to cook for another 20 minutes - give or take depending on the size of your potatoes.
At this point I like to thin out the remaining mustard mixture with a little olive oil to create a dressing. When the potatoes are crispy I remove them from the oven, place atop of large handful of greens and drizzle the dressing over everything.
These make a great side dish as well. If doing so, I might cut the potatoes into smaller pieces before roasting.