One of the best things you could have in your cupboards is a bag of potatoes. Sure, they aren’t as easy as pasta (what with the peeling and all) but they are cheaper, and although they aren’t as quick as rice, they are so versatile and delicious. It is important to keep potatoes in a dark place – a cupboard is ideal – and for some reason they don’t like plastic bags, so look for the ones in paper bags or store them in something else. Contrary to what Dr. Atkins might tell you, the carby potato is bursting with vitamins and minerals; in particular, potassium, Vitamin C, Calcium, Magnesium, Vitamin A, Flavenoids, and er…Molybdenum (good for DNA synthesis apparently). Anyway, whatever, the following potato recipe is a new favourite of mine from a new favourite book of mine, The Accidental Vegetarian by UK chef Simon Rimmer. It is a great meal for those times when you think you have nothing in the cupboards.
600g floury potatoes (this is roughly 2-3 largish spuds)
1 tin plain, chopped tomatoes
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped (I’m not going to pretend that if you use ready-crushed garlic from a container that it will taste as good, but go nuts)
Optional – 1 red chilli, seeded and diced finely
Pour a good amount of olive oil into a medium sized roasting tin (the one I use is actually a much-abused brownie tin if that helps you envisage the size) and let it heat up in a 220 C oven. Meanwhile, peel the spuds and chop into inch long cubes (and an inch wide too, naturally) Don’t worry about getting out your ruler though. When the oil is good and hot, tumble the potatoes into the roasting tin (watch out for splattering!) and let the potatoes cook for about 15 minutes, shaking the tin occasionally to turn the chunks of potato. Once this has happened, pour in the tin of tomatoes and the garlic and also the chilli if you are using it. Let this bake in the oven for a further 20-25 minutes. This could serve 2-4 people depending on how much other stuff you are serving with it.
Don’t forget to check out the recipe archives at www.salient.org.nz/columns/food/ if you are interested in any of my back issue food articles.