11 July 2006

Don't hate the tater, hate the game

Potatoes are the most widely grown tuber in the world, and a staple of the American diet. Here's a fun fact; Potatoes do not come from Ireland. Potatoes are a new world vegetable that originate in the Andes highlands of Peru. It was imported into Spain and then slowly spread across Europe where they were considered unhealthy.

Despite being a new world vegetable, the potato has a long and varied role as a culinary ingredient. If you're american though, you've very likely only eaten in a small number of ways. Baked potato, mashed potatoes, french fries, potato chips. While fine in their own right, these three dishes don't offer the diversity of flavor that most of us crave. The more adventurous or ethnically diverse may have sampled other common potato dishes. Potato pancakes, gnocchi, or pommes souffle

Fortunately, potatoes are a hardy and durable ingredient that take well to a variety of seasonings, both sweet and savory, and cooking methods. Potatoes are almost perfect for experimentation. Fry, boil, bake, roast and grill to your hearts content.

The following recipe is my latest experimentation. I'm pleased to say that it came out quite well. The end result had the desirable crunchy exterior of an au gratin and the creamy cheesy center typical of scalloped potatoes. It came out a little sweeter than I had expected, but not enough to overbalance the savory flavors of the cheese and onion.

  • 3 russet potatoes cut into 1" cubes
  • 1 Sweet yellow onion roughly diced
  • 2 golden delicious apples cut into 1" cubes
  • 1/3 cup of Gulden's brown mustard
  • 2/3 cup of sour cream
  • 1 cup of shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup of Sargento's shredded four cheese Mexican blend
  • salt and pepper to taste
In a large mixing bowl mix together the sour cream, Gulden's mustard, Sargento's cheese and half of the parmesan cheese until well blended. Salt and pepper to taste. Add the potatoes, onion, and apples, and toss until well coated.

Place mixture in a 1.5 quart baking dish and sprinkle the top with the remainder of parmesan cheese and fresh ground black pepper. Bake in a 375° oven for 1 hour. Let the dish cool for 3-5 minutes before serving.

Fun, although untested, additions would be; bacon, prosciutto, rosemary, jicama, spinach, artichoke hearts, tomatoes, and flaked smoked salmon.

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