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The Low-Fat Cook: Lean dishes that show off potatoes in all their versatility.

Off the couch

* Next time you eat a potato, leave off a little of the butter to find out what the spud really tastes like: It might be sweet, salty, earthy or even buttery. Its texture might feel creamy waxy, fluffy, or mealy. Although there's no denying that potatoes taste wonderful prepared with some fat, their various flavors and textures stand out better in a leaner setting. We've taken advantage of these characteristics in dishes that let you appreciate the potato far more than the fat it's served with.

Warm Roasted-Potato Salad with Artichokes

PREP AND COOK TIME: About 35 minutes

NOTES: Rub cut sides of artichokes with half a lemon or drop them into a bowl with 2 cups water and 3 tablespoons lemon juice (drain well before using).

MAKES: 4 to 6 servings

2 pounds thin-skinned potatoes (1 1/2 in. wide), scrubbed and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks

1 tablespoon olive oil About 3/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 pounds baby artichokes (about 12, each 1 1/2 in. wide; see notes) or 1 package (8 oz.) frozen artichoke hearts, thawed

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 tablespoons sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

2 cups bite-size pieces rinsed and crisped frisee (about 4 oz.) or salad mix, rinsed and crisped

1 tablespoon drained capers

1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon

Pepper

1. In a 12- by 15-inch baking pan, mix potatoes with 1/2 teaspoon olive oil; sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and mix to coat. Bake in a 400[degrees] regular or convection oven, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are browned and tender when pierced, 25 to 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, rinse fresh artichokes; trim off discolored stem ends. Break off and discard coarse outer leaves down to tender, pale green inner ones. Cut off thorny artichoke tips, pare coarse fibers from stems, and cut in half lengthwise. With a small, sharp knife, trim out fuzzy centers and discard (see notes).

3. In a 10- to 12-inch frying pan over medium-high heat, bring 1/2 cup water and the lemon juice to a boil. Add artichokes and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cover, reduce heat, and simmer until artichokes are tender when pierced, about 10 minutes (if using frozen artichoke hearts, skip step 2 and cook only 3 to 4 minutes). Uncover and boil, stirring often, until most of the liquid has evaporated.

4. In a large bowl, mix remaining 2 1/2 teaspoons olive oil, vinegar, and mustard. Add potatoes, artichokes (with any juices), frisee, capers, and tarragon. Mix gently to coat, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve warm.

Per serving: 86 cal., 27% (23 cal.) from fat; 4.1 g protein; 2.5 g fat (0.3 g sat.); 13 g carbo (6.8 g fiber); 351 mg sodium; 0 mg chol.

Curried Potato Pita Sandwiches

PREP AND COOK TIME: About 1 hour

NOTES: The curried potatoes also make a great side dish.

MAKES: 4 to 6 servings

1 onion (about 8 oz.), peeled, halved lengthwise, and thinly sliced crosswise

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 1/2 teaspoons salad oil

2 tablespoons curry powder

1 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon cayenne

About 1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold or other thin-skinned potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1/2-inch chunks

1/4 cup chopped parsley

1 cup nonfat plain yogurt

1/2 cup diced peeled cucumber

1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

3 pocket breads (about 6 in. wide), cut in half crosswise to make 6 pockets

1. In a 10- to 12-inch frying pan over medium heat, stir onion and 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic in oil until onion is limp and starting to brown, about 10 minutes. Stir in curry powder, cumin, cayenne, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

2. Add potatoes and 1 cup water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender when pierced, about 15 minutes; if they start to stick, add 1 to 2 tablespoons water to pan as needed. Stir in parsley and more salt to taste.

3. Meanwhile, in a bowl, mix yogurt, cucumber, lemon juice, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon garlic. Add salt to taste.

4. Toast pocket breads lightly in a toaster and gently pull open. Spoon potato mixture equally into halves; spoon yogurt sauce over potatoes. Per serving: 172 cal., 10% (18 cal.) from fat; 7.8 g protein; 2 g fat (0.3 g sat.); 32 g carbo (5.1 g fiber); 394 mg sodium; 0.8 mg chol.

Smoked Trout Brandade

PREP AND COOK TIME: About 1 1/2 hours

NOTES: This garlicky puree makes a good side dish as well as an appetizer. You can prepare through step 4 up to 1 day ahead; chill brandade airtight, and store crumbs airtight at room temperature. Bake chilled brandade 15 to 20 minutes.

MAKES: About 12 appetizer servings

12 ounces boned, skinned smoked trout

3 cloves garlic, peeled

1 1/3 cups nonfat milk

3 thyme sprigs (each about 3 in. long), rinsed

1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks

2 baguettes (8 oz. each), sliced diagonally 1/4 inch thick

3 tablespoons olive oil Salt and pepper

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

1. Shred trout with a fork. Thinly slice 2 cloves garlic. In a 2- to 3-quart pan, combine sliced garlic, milk, and thyme sprigs; bring just to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from heat, stir in trout, cover, and let stand about 15 minutes. Remove thyme sprigs.

2. In a 3- to 4-quart pan, combine potatoes and about 1 quart water. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat and simmer until potatoes mash easily, about 20 minutes. Drain potatoes and return to pan.

3. Meanwhile, place four baguette slices in a single layer on a 12- by 15-inch baking sheet. Bake in a 350[degrees] regular or convection oven, turning once, until crisp and dry, about 15 minutes total. Let cool. Rub one side of each slice with remaining garlic clove. Whirl slices in a food processor into coarse crumbs, or seal in a plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin.

4. In a blender or food processor, whirl milk mixture until smooth. Add, with olive oil, to potatoes and beat with an electric mixer, or mash with a potato masher, until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Scrape into a shallow 1- to 2-quart baking dish.

5. Sprinkle top evenly with bread crumbs, then parsley. Bake in a 400[degrees] regular or convection oven until top is browned and center is hot, about 15 minutes. Serve brandade with remaining baguette slices.

Per serving: 240 cal., 28% (68 cal.) from fat; 12 g protein; 7.6 g fat (1.5 g sat.); 30 g carbo (1.9 g fiber); 543 mg sodium; 8 mg chol.

Creamy Potato-Apple Soup

PREP AND COOK TIME: About 1 hour

MAKES: 8 cups; about 4 servings

2 slices turkey bacon (1 oz. total), chopped

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 onion (about 8 oz.), peeled and chopped

1 tart apple (about 8 oz.), such as Fuji, peeled, cored, and sliced

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1/4 cup dry white wine

2 pounds thin-skinned potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks About 1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup apple cider or juice

3/4 cup low-fat (1%) milk

3 to 4 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese (about 1 1/2 oz.)

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg Pepper

2 tablespoons minced fresh chives

1. In a 5- to 6-quart nonstick pan over high heat, stir bacon until browned, 3 to 4 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels to drain. Add oil to pan; when hot, add onion, apple, and garlic. Stir often over medium heat until onion is very limp and beginning to brown, about 20 minutes. Add wine and stir until evaporated, 3 to 4 minutes.

2. Add potatoes, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 3 1/2 cups water; bring to a boil ver high heat, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until potatoes mash easily, 25 to 30 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, in a 1- to 2-quart pan over high heat, boil apple cider until reduced to 1/4 cup, 8 to 15 minutes.

4. Add milk to potato mixture and, working in batches, whirl in a blender or food processor until smooth. Return to pan over low heat and stir in apple cider, cheese, nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir often just until hot, 2 to 3 minutes. Ladle into bowls and top with chives and bacon.

Per serving: 218 cal., 26% (56 cal.) from fat; 9.2 g protein; 6.2 g fat (2.8 g sat.); 34 g carbo (7.6 g fiber); 571 mg sodium; 15 mg chol.

RELATED ARTICLE: choose your potato wisely

Starchy potatoes

High-starch potatoes, such as russets (also called Idahos or baking potatoes), have thick, papery brown skin and white flesh. Their dry, fluffy texture makes them good for baking, frying, and mashing.

All-purpose potatoes

Many varieties have textures somewhere between starchy and waxy. Mature thin-skinned white potatoes hold their shape well when cooked and are creamy when mashed. Thin-skinned yellow-fleshed Yellow Finns and Yukon Golds have a dense, creamy texture that's great for both roasting and mashing. All of these potatoes are multipurpose choices; they make creamy soups and mashed mixtures with-out a lot of fat.

Waxy potatoes

Thin-skinned round red potatoes and new potatoes (technically any kind that are harvested before maturity) have a smooth, firm texture that makes them well suited to roasting, boiling, and steaming, but they can turn gummy when mashed or pureed.
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Copyright 2002 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

 
Article Details
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Author:Ferreira, Charity
Publication:Sunset
Article Type:Recipe
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2002
Words:1631
Previous Article:Kitchen Cabinet: Readers' recipes tested in Sunset's kitchens.
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