Spuds herald summertime

GRAHAM HAWKES
Last updated 13:35 18/01/2014
Southland Times photo
NICOLE GOURLEY/Fairfax NZ

Warm potato, chive and bacon salad.

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Down in these glorious southern parts of the Land of the Long White Pavlova a sure sign of summer is the new season's potatoes starting to flower.

If you are like me you will tend to take the time to fill the pot up with potatoes as the leftovers are always great, either lightly sauteed with some butter, pan-fried or grilled on the barbecue or as we will today turned into a delicious salad.

More often referred to as spuds, potatoes are in fact a native of the Andes in South America and have been a staple food of the Europeans for a couple of hundred years arriving in New Zealand from Great Britain and becoming well and truly established as a staple part of the early settlers diet from around 1880.

They are well considered as great fuel food to power our bodies and provide a wealth of nutrients especially vitamin C and potassium. They are also a valuable source of the B group vitamins and full of fibre while containing some iron and magnesium. They are a great source of protein and nutrients and it is how we cook them or more importantly what we add to them that can sometimes make them somewhat unhealthy.

Choosing potatoes always look for the ones that don't have any cuts, bruises, green patches or shoots. You also need to be careful to choose the potatoes which are best suited to your end use. I am of course talking generally now - not the ones that you have just dug and enjoying straight from the garden. If you are in the situation where you need to purchase potatoes have a quick visit to vegetables.co.nz as they have a fabulous guide to assist you in which are the best potatoes to use for your chosen method of cooking or presentation.

Now back to the real purpose of today's commentary - using up some of those extra new potatoes left over from last night's dinner.

WARM POTATO, CHIVE AND BACON SALAD

For 4 servings

400g pre-cooked new potatoes

30-40 ml vinaigrette

3 Tbsp chopped chives

200g good smoky streaky bacon

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Method

Cut the potatoes into halves and dice the bacon into 2cm pieces.

Place the bacon in a heavy based pan and fry until nice and crispy.

Add the potatoes and toss in the pan with the bacon and the bacon fat and continue cooking until the potatoes are warmed through.

Add the vinaigrette, chives and season with the sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and serve alongside some crispy, fresh bread as a lovely summer lunch or as an accompaniment to any meal.

Graham Hawkes operates Paddington Arms at the Queens Drive/Bainfield Rd roundabout.

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- The Southland Times

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