Ah, the potato! Jimmy Buffett likes his hamburger with “French Fried Potatoes” as do most of us. In New Orleans, you can get an entire poboy made of French fries (dripping with gravy, of course!). Potatoes certainly have their place in history. French fries were first served in America in 1801. In fact, there is even a Pennsylvania Prayer “Potatoes served at breakfast. At dinner served again; Potatoes served at supper. Forever and Amen! (I could probably eat potatoes at every meal, too!)
Hallmark even has a card expressing love for the potato and the person you are willing to share it with:
I know, I gave it to my hubby! Yep, that is true love when you are willing to share your fries and not just to save some calories! When working at a restaurant, Friday would be my FRYday and I would treat myself to a 100 calorie snack pack-about 10 French fries! We all need something to look forward to in a work week! There is obviously some love for potatoes in this world-No matter how far you try to escape the potato it is all around-French fries, hash browns, potatoes-roasted, baked, broiled, steamed, boiled, stuffed! Potatoes are served with just about everything nowadays in restaurants. You can sometimes substitute for something healthier or try to practice self control! But, if there is no way around it, ask for salt free (or steal some off your kids or grandkids plates) and a box and make plans for dinner.
Potato Encrusted Fish:For this you can use just about any potato, even instant potato flakes-you’ll just have to add a little melted butter to the fish to help the potatoes cook. I just happen to have some roasted new potatoes leftover from brunch and this is my favorite way to use them or French fries (sweet potato ones are a great choice!)
Take your leftover potatoes, whatever kind you may have, and put them in your new mini food processor (you bought one, didn’t you?) and pulse until finely minced. (If using mashed potatoes, skip this step)
Keep in mind what type of potatoes you are using and any seasoning already in the potatoes, mine are already spicy so I just add some Parmesan cheese and garlic powder. Depending on your potatoes, you may need to add some bread crumbs, the mixture should be a little crumbly, but be able to hold together. (If too dry, you can add a little sour cream into your topping mixture for that extra flavor) Rinse and dry your fish. Spray one side of the fillet with some non-stick cooking spray-you can make your own with olive oil and a sprayer (that’s what I use) and put that side down on a foiled lined baking sheet. Sprinkle some seasoning (I’m using lemon pepper) on the fish. Next, mound and press some potato topping evenly on each fillet, not too thick! Then I like to sprinkle a few Panko breadcrumbs on top with a little shot of non-stick cooking spray on top of each fillet-this will help make it a crispy topping. This is a great way to get that “fried” taste from the oven. Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 20 minutes, or until fish easily flakes with fork. A good rule of thumb is 10 minutes of cooking time per inch thickness of fish-measure after your fish is topped.
That’s it, do you recognize your old friend the potato?
You can dress up this dinner with steamed asparagus and some dill sauce…(sounds fancy, but just add some lemon juice, garlic, dill weed, and pepper to taste to that cup of plain yogurt you bought last week and haven’t eaten yet!) My husband likes his with malt vinegar-fish and chips all in one bite! For kids or grandkids, add some cheddar cheese into the topping and let them use ketchup-they’ll never know they are eating fish!
Put your TO COOK IS TO CREATE thinking cap on: I kept the flavors simple, but think about how wonderful a potato is for absorbing all the flavors. If a soup or stew is too spicy or salty, add a potato, it works like a sponge. (Think how the potato is always the spiciest thing to come out of the crawfish pot!) What flavors could you add to the potatoes? This topping method works well with chicken and pork, too! What else could you encrust?
Food Fun: Did you know in October 1995, the potato became the first vegetable to be grown in space?!! Key word there is vegetable!! O.K., a starchy one and one to be eaten in moderation, but just for a second, didn’t that make you feel better? It did me!