Potato Wedges: Easy, Quick and Healthy
Let’s hear it for the humble spud. For centuries, this tremendous tuber has taken up a fair proportion of the world’s dinner plates, whether boiled, fried, mashed, chipped, baked, roasted, or, if such a word exists, dauphinoised. Potatoes are high in fibre (particularly the skins), and naturally fat-free. They contain important nutrients, including vitamin B6, which is not destroyed through cooking.
The versatile potato
The potato is a filling, versatile and nutritious addition to almost any meal. Fried potato peelings are a popular starter in restaurants, and, at the other end of the menu, a wartime cookbook from those dark days of World War II, offers a recipe for potato milk pudding to round off a blackout dinner party. As much as I like potatoes, I think I’ll stick to crème brulee for dessert.
The versatility of the potato is particularly well demonstrated in supermarket freezer sections, where there are all kinds of potato products available. From happy faces to hash browns, fritters to fries, and waffles to wedges, the popularity of the potato is never ending. And while these frozen products are perfectly good, sometimes making your own requires only a little more effort than opening a packet and putting the contents into the oven. This is particularly true of potato wedges, as they require no peeling. Making your own is simplicity itself, and once you try these speedy spicy wedges, you might well consign your deep fat fryer to the cupboard.
To make potato wedges for two, scrub and dry two large, or three medium sized potatoes. Any good baking potato will do. Prick the skins and put into a microwave oven for twelve minutes or so, until they are cooked. This cuts the cooking time dramatically. Put the cooked potatoes to one side, and allow to cool a little.
Shake a heaped teaspoon of smoked paprika into a dry bowl that can comfortably accommodate your wedges. Add a pinch of salt and a little rosemary. Quarter your potatoes lengthways, and place them in the bowl. When your wedges are all present and correct, toss them so that the dry mix sticks to the moist surface of the potatoes. If you have a lid for the bowl then you can tumble the wedges to coat them.
If you are over-vigorous in tossing the wedges, you might find that some of them begin to break up. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as these broken bits tend to crisp up more, but if presentation is your thing, then go easy when coating the wedges.
Into the oven
Lay the wedges out, skins down, on a suitable baking tin (I use a pizza tray), and brown them in a pre-heated oven (200 C/Gas 6) for about ten minutes. The potatoes are already cooked, so just let them brown to your own personal preference.
You may have noticed that there is no fat used in the preparation of these wedges. In my early experiments, I painted melted olive spread onto the potatoes to help ‘glue on’ the spices, but I found this to be unnecessary, as the mixture sticks just as well to the moist potato. This lack of fat, combined with the goodness of the potato skins, make these wedges a healthy and delicious part of any meal. They are certainly just as tasty, and a lot less fattening than those deep fried potato skins I mentioned earlier.
Potato wedges are a healthy alternative to chips or fries, but their shape makes them perfect for dipping, so they also make a hearty snack, and are great TV food. My top three dips for potato wedges are baked beans, garlic mayo and sweet chilli sauce.
Try them. I think you'll like them.
Many supermarkets store spice mixes, usually intended for meat dishes, in cartons or grinders. These are ideal for coating potato wedges, so why not try out some Cajun or Jamaican spices on your wedges tonight?