Oh January, we may be done with the holidays, but we still want to see our friends. Preferably over a plate of something that makes us feel happy. Even when you start your January plan, a tasty appetizer should never be banished for long. Life is for the living, after all.
Call it an appetizer, small plate, or snack, we all like a tasty bite to go with a glass of wine. You can follow up with a big salad if you really think it is necessary. But enjoy it.
Too often, we see the same bruschetta, chips and dips, and cheese cubes put out for apps. They deserve their popularity, why not try a different twist? Skip the bread, and your gluten-free friends will be delighted. Everybody loves potatoes, which have gotten an undeserved bad rap in recent years. Put out these blue beauties, still warm from the oven, and your guests can enjoy their crisp edges and creamy, rich topping, all while thinking that they are being a little sinful.
They are not.
Yes, the potato, like so many foods that have a carb or two, has gotten accused of making people fat. Of course, the tons of french fries and potato chips that are consumed every day in this country may have something to do with this. But really, the potato itself is a fine food to eat. All potatoes are a very good source of vitamin B6, which is good for your heart. It’s also a brain protector, and helps lower blood pressure. Higher in potassium than a banana, the average potato also packs good amounts of copper, manganese, Vitamin C, Phosphorus, Fiber and B3.
Then, add the blue pigment anthocyanin, and you boost the antioxidant levels to another level. All those lists pushing blueberries and pomegranate as a superfood are into the anthocyanin- so think of this potato as a superfood.
All the virtue of pomegranate, in a crispy potato? Yes, please.
So, I picked the easiest way to make a potato into a crostini-and I didn’t even need a knife. I just bought nice small potatoes, boiled them, then flattened them with the bottom of a cup on a sheet pan. Olive oil, a sprinkling of chipotle and salt, and a quick roast in a hot oven, and I had edges crisp enough to crunch. Once they cooled a bit, they transformed into finger food, perhaps not a sturdy as a slice of french bread, but ferried to the mouth easily enough with no silverware.
I love a dish that I can throw together for friends without feeling like I worked. For the most ease in serving, I would go ahead and do the boil and bash, then wrap the pan and keep at room temp for a couple of hours, or refrigerate overnight. Just bring it back to room temp before baking.
Mashing the avocadoes takes just a couple of strokes, and you can casually spoon the topping on the potatoes just before serving. A slice of the only fresh tomato worth eating in winter, the grape tomato, finishes the dish.
So if you are feeling a little blue, invite some friends over and eat blue. You’ll certainly bring a little color to their chilly day.
That always makes me feel better!
Bashed Blue Potatoes with Avocado
1 pound small blue potatoes (or small yellow or red potatoes)
2 medium avocadoes
1 medium lemon
another pinch of salt
1 cup grape tomatoes, sliced
Put the whole potatoes in a large pot of water and bring to a boil. Test every five minutes after about 10 minutes of cooking at a strong simmer. When tender when pierced with a paring knife, take out each potato to cool. Preheat the oven to 425 F.
Smear a baking sheet with olive oil. Place each potato on the sheet pan and use the flat bottom of a measuring cup, or a metal spatula, to flatten each potato. When all are flat, sprinkle with chipotle and salt to taste. Bake for 10 minutes, then carefully flip and bake for 10 more.
While the potatoes bake, mash the avocado and season with a good squeeze of lemon and some salt. Taste and adjust. Slice the tomatoes.
To serve, put the potatoes on a platter, top each with a spoonful of avocado and a slice or two of tomato. Serve immediately.