Purple, Peruvian, All-Blue, Congo, Purple Viking, Purple Majesty. What do all these regal and slightly exotic names have in common?
All at once, spud-afficionados: they are all varieties of purple fingerling potatoes. Curious, delicious, and very nutritious. My new obsession.
Depending on the variety, the skin ranges from light blue to dark purple, and once cut open, the inside reveals anything from violet to deep purple, marbled to opaque. Unlike their white and yellow counterparts, purple potatoes are rich in the antioxidant, anthocyanin. And akin to their purple and blue cousins (blueberries, blackberries and grapes), they contain flavonoids, which are a proven immune-boosting and cancer-preventing plant metabolites. Preliminary research has also suggested that flavonoids are positive biological response modifiers, meaning (and autoimmune and allergy sufferers, listen up!) that plants containing flavonoids may be a powerful anti-allergy and anti-inflammatory tool. To my paleo readers, if by the small chance you have made it two paragraphs into a blog about potatoes, the debate is still out as to whether purple and sweet potatoes (when consumed in moderation, just like everything else) can be part of a strict paleo diet. Due to different chemcial structures, amino acids and plant toxicity levels, the bright and colorful varieties of tubers may be a highly nutritious and very satisfying addition to the paleo diet. What’s not to like about these things?!?
Yes, they are nutritious and anti-inflammatory, but I haven’t even gotten to the best part. The flavor. Purple potatoes (though again, there is a range of intensity depending on the variety) have a rich earthy and nutty taste. Regular baked white potatoes cry out for butter, bacon, chives, cheese, etc. etc. etc. because plain they taste like, well, pretty much just bland texture. Purple potatoes have an amazingly complex taste for such a small, simple tuber.
With all of this in mind, I’ve created a recipe for simple mashed purple potatoes that highlights the rich nutty flavor and adds on a little more (flavor and nutrition!)
- Approx. 10 purple potatoes, any variety you find or like, leaving skin intact
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 3-4 cloves garlic, peeled and diced
- a couple stems of sage, leaves pulled off and chopped coarsely
- appox. 1/2 teaspoon red chile powder to be added by the pinchful at your discretion!
- pinchful of sea salt
1. Get a pot of water boiling on the stove.
2. Clean the potatoes (with skin intact unless you really, really don’t like the idea of the texture of the skin in the final product) and boil them about 8-14 minutes (less for smaller varities, more for the larger ones).
3. While the potatoes are boiling, pour half of the olive oil into a pan and heat on medium (NEVER heat olive oil at a higher temperature than this; once it hits ‘smoke point’ at which point the oil becomes very viscous and starts smoking, you have created a saucepan of carcinogens) and add diced garlic and sage (save some fresh garlic and sage to add at the very end if desired). Saute at a low temp about 5-7 minutes, at least long enough to ensure the flavors have infused into the oil, but not too long, at which point the garlic and sage turn black and crispy.
4. Strain the potatoes and set aside to cool.
5. Strain the infused olive oil into a glass bowl or cup. Discard the sauteed sage and garlic if you don’t like bits and pieces in your mashed potatoes. If you’re okay with the bits and pieces, add some of the sauteed goodies for added flavor and texture.
6. Begin the mashing. With a large fork, mash up the purple potatoes gradually adding almond milk, sage-garlic oil, salt and chili powder (and sauteed and/or fresh garlic and sage, if you’re feelin’ it!). Make it personal, make it delicious. And keep it gluten-free.
Happy eating y’all.