Pity the poor potato, mashed and pummeled like a prizefighter’s punching bag.
Potatoes have always an easy target for dieters, and the mere fact that they supply carbohydrates became reason enough for many to swear off of the most popular vegetable in the world.
When the Atkins diet craze died down, the need for complex carbohydrates became clear again. Potatoes provide a necessary, slow-releasing fuel that gives the body energy.
But carbs aren’t the only issue at stake when you sack potatoes.
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The lowly spud is also high in potassium. A critical nutrient for regulating blood pressure, potassium is found in a wide variety of foods, including fruits and vegetables, meat and dairy and whole grains.
Yet if you ask the person on the street to name a potassium-rich food, most reach for a banana. A medium banana has 422 milligrams compared with a medium potato, with the skin on it, at 610 milligrams, according to the government’s Nutrient Reference Database.
Red potatoes, like those used in The Star’s Southwest potato salad with grilled corn, also contain anthocyanins, antioxidant pigments that protect the body from heart disease and cancer. Potato skins provide fiber, B vitamins and iron as well as caffeic and ferulic acids, which may help destroy harmful carcinogens.
With so much to recommend potatoes, summer is the right time to use them in a picnic salad with a twist. We added antioxidant-rich roasted yellow sweet corn and red peppers for more nutrition, flavor and color.
Cooking tips: To remove corn silk, rub a damp paper towel over the cob from tip to stem or scrub with a new soft-bristled toothbrush. Housewares stores also sell special corn brushes.
To remove the kernels from the cob, cut the ear in half lengthwise to create a stable surface, then use a sharp knife.
If fresh corn on the cob is out of season, roasting frozen corn in the oven also works well. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick vegetable cooking spray. Spread corn in a single layer on baking sheet and spray lightly with nonstick vegetable cooking spray. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until corn is golden.
Southwest potato salad with grilled corn
Makes 12 servings
3 pounds small red potatoes
4 ears yellow sweet corn, shucked (1 2/3 cups)
3/4 cup light mayonnaise
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 (7.25-ounce) jar roasted red peppers, drained and coarsely chopped
6 green onions, thinly sliced
Place potatoes in large saucepan or Dutch oven and cover with water. Bring to a boil and simmer 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Drain, cool slightly and cut each potato into fourths. (Cut into eighths if potatoes are larger.) Set aside.
Preheat grill or allow coals to burn down to white ash. Spray ears of corn with nonstick vegetable spray and place on grill. Grill corn, turning as needed until the corn is browned or blackened all over, 8 to 12 minutes. Set aside to cool. Using a sharp knife, remove corn from cob and set aside.
Combine mayonnaise, chili powder, salt, pepper, lime juice and cilantro. Add peppers, green onions and 1 cup of the grilled corn kernels to potatoes; toss gently. Pour dressing over all and toss gently to coat evenly. Sprinkle remaining corn kernels on top of salad and serve at room temperature or cover and chill.
Per serving: 163 calories (18 percent from fat), 4 grams total fat (1 gram saturated), 5 milligrams cholesterol, 31 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams protein, 183 milligrams sodium, 4 grams dietary fiber.
Recipe developed for The Star by professional home economists Kathryn Moore and Roxanne Wyss.