Wednesday, March 17, 2010

ONE POTATO, ONE POTATO, ONE POTATO, MORE...

OK, I know that's not how it goes, but in my quest for meals that serve just one, one potato is all I need. In the days before everyone got on the nutritian bandwagon, potatoes were an important part of almost every meal. Mom made potatoes for us nearly every night of my life (unless she happened to be making the odd meal with rice instead) and until I got older and less active, I wasn't overweight as a kid. I think Mom instinctively knew something about preparing balanced meals that we've forgotten these days. She continues to include potatoes at almost every evening meal she prepares for her and Dad and they still aren't overweight.

Although potatoes are not low carb, the fact of the matter is that plain potatoes contain no fat, and they are a good source of fiber, protein and vitamins. They have vitamin C and B-6, and they are low in sodium and high in potassium. And, the skins are an excellent source of fiber.

I personally love potatoes in almost any form imaginable. Even raw. Imagine my surprise when in the culinary classes I took a while back I was stared at when I popped a stray piece of raw potato in my mouth and munched away. Those supposedly culinarily curious classmates had never eaten raw potato. With a little prompting almost everyone tried a bite and declared it delicious. To this day when I prepare potatoes for cooking, I always slice off an end piece, shake a sprinkle of salt on it and pop it in my mouth. Mmmmm! It is a tradition that I shared with my Mother when I was learning to cook - I got one slice and she got one slice - it was something we shared and still makes me think of her when I prepare potatoes at home alone.

Last night I had some of my Weiner Schnitzel left over from the Slovenian House so I reheated that and took a moment to consider a potato side dish. One method that I recalled from an old cookbook of my Mother's was straightforward and seemed the perfect accompaniment. They contained a small amount of lemon and paprika and would mirror the flavors of my Schnitzelquite nicely.

Don't get excited about the fact that there is butter in this recipe. I did a quick calorie check and the entire dish contains just under 250 calories. You can certainly use olive oil instead, but the butter gives this it's flavor unless you start adding other ingredients such as garlic and/or herbs - which you certainly can do to change this up. The classic recipe is what went well with the Schnitzel and I encourage everyone to try these, they are delicious.

Lemon-Paprika Potatoes

1 medium sized potato - sliced thinly
1 tablespoon butter - in small pieces
1 lemon to squeeze - total used about 1 teaspoon of juice
dash of paprika
salt and pepper to taste

Over medium heat, melt 1 teaspoon of the butter in a non-stick skillet just large enough to hold one potato (mine is about 6 inches across). Shingle the potato slices in a single layer over the melted butter. Top with a squeeze of lemon, a sprinkle of paprika, salt and pepper. Dot some butter over the potatoes. Shingle the remaining potato slices over this and repeat the process.

Leave the heat on medium, cover the skillet with a tight-fitting lid and allow to cook until the potatoes are done, this took about 10 minutes for me. Do not turn the heat up or you may burn the underside of these.

Once they test done, you may wish to flip these over to crisp up the top. This is easily done by turning the whole thing upside down with the lid on and then sliding the potatoes back into the skillet wrong-side up. Please be careful that you don't allow the hot butter to leak from the pan during the flipping process - it's very hot and will burn.

These come out crisp on at least one side and tender on the inside. The hint of lemon and paprika is wonderful and not overwhelming.

To make these for more servings, instead of cooking these on the stovetop, layer the ingredients into a casserole dish and bake in the oven uncovered to get the crisp crust on the top. That is how the original dish was made.

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