Digging all those new potatoes Spuds: Nowadays, they range from blue to gold, fat to skinny. Here are some ideas for trying the upscale kinds.

October 15, 1997|By COOKING LIGHT

Round, dimpled, and plump in all the wrong places, Mr. Potato Head was everyone's 1960s television image of the spud. Bake him, split him open, load the fellow up with sour cream and butter and pretty soon, you too could achieve his shapely appearance.

Fast-forward to 1997, the health-conscious era of potato multiculturalism. Newcomers with blue, yellow and even gold skins and a tubular kind called fingerling are headed for America's dining tables. And instead of concealing them with goop, we now celebrate their natural attributes.

Fingerling potatoes with oregano pesto

Makes 4 servings

2 cups torn spinach leaves

2 cups fresh parsley leaves

1 cup fresh oregano leaves

2 tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 large garlic cloves, peeled

2 tablespoons olive oil

16 fingerling potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds)

Combine first 8 ingredients in a food processor; process until smooth. With food processor on, slowly add oil through chute; process until well blended. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place potatoes on a jelly-roll pan. Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Place potatoes in a large bowl; add 1/3 cup pesto, tossing gently to coat. Note: Store remaining pesto in an airtight container in refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Note: Any kind of potato will work in place of the fingerlings; just cut into 2-inch chunks.

Per serving: 188 calories (25 percent from fat); 5.3 grams fat (sat 0.9 grams, mono 3.4 grams, poly 0.6 grams); 5.9 grams protein; 31.2 grams carbohydrate; 4.9 grams fiber; 1 milligram cholesterol; 4.1 milligrams iron; 135 milligrams sodium; 96 milligrams calcium

Roasted-garlic mashed potatoes

Yield: 5 ( 1/2 -cup) servings

1 whole garlic head

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 pound peeled Yukon Gold or red potatoes, quartered

3 cups water

1/2 cup 1 percent (low-fat) milk

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Remove white papery skin from garlic head (do not peel or separate cloves). Rub oil over head; wrap in foil. Bake at 375 degrees for 1 hour; cool 10 minutes. Separate cloves; squeeze to extract pulp. Set aside. Discard skins.

Place potatoes in a saucepan, and cover with water. Bring to

TC boil; cook 15 minutes or until very tender. Drain. Heat milk in pan over medium heat until hot (do not boil). Add potatoes, salt and pepper, and beat at medium speed of a mixer until potato mixture is smooth. Add garlic pulp, and stir well.

Per serving: 105 calories (27 percent from fat); 3.1 grams fat (sat 0.5 grams, mono 2.1 grams, poly 0.3 grams); 3.9 grams protein; 16.6 grams carbohydrate; 1.8 grams fiber; 1 milligram cholesterol; 3.2 milligrams iron; 140 milligrams sodium ; 79 milligrams calcium.

Chicken with potatoes, green beans and sun-dried tomatoes

Yield: 4 servings

3/4 ounce sun-dried tomatoes, packed without oil (about 9)

1 cup boiling water

8 fingerling potatoes (about 12 ounces)

1 1/2 cups (1 1/2 -inch) cut green beans (about 6 ounces)

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

4 (4-ounce) skinned, boned chicken breast halves, cut into 1-inch strips

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 cup chopped shallots

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 cup dry white wine

8 ( 1/4 -inch-thick) slices lemon (about 2 lemons)

12 kalamata olives

basil sprigs (optional)

Combine sun-dried tomatoes and boiling water in a bowl, and let stand 30 minutes. Drain tomatoes; cut into thin strips, and set aside.

Steam potatoes, covered, 5 minutes. Add green beans to potatoes, and steam, covered, an additional 5 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Drain and set aside.

Place flour, salt and pepper in a zip-top plastic bag; add chicken. Seal and shake to coat. Remove chicken from bag, shaking off excess flour.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots and garlic, and saute 1 minute. Add chicken, and saute 3 minutes on each side. Stir in wine, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Add tomatoes, lemon slices, and olives; cover and cook 2 minutes. Remove chicken from skillet; set aside, and keep warm. Add potatoes and green beans to skillet, and cook, uncovered, until thoroughly heated. Garnish with basil sprigs, if desired.

Per serving: 291 calories (20 percent from fat); 6.5 grams fat (sat 1.2 grams, mono 3.8 grams, poly 1 gram); 31 grams protein; 31.5 grams carbohydrate; 3.2 grams fiber; 66 milligrams cholesterol; 3.5 milligrams iron; 432 milligrams sodium; 96 milligrams calcium.

Potato-watercress soup

Yield: 7 (1-cup) servings

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 cup finely chopped onion

3 garlic cloves, minced

3 cups cubed, peeled Yukon gold or baking potato

3 cups low-salt chicken broth

2 cups water

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/2 cup plain fat-free yogurt

3/4 cup minced trimmed watercress or thinly sliced spinach leaves

1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated Gruyere or Swiss cheese

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