By Kevin RR Williams
Potato Appetizer Craze
The love affair with potato skins is over. What was once the darling of salad bar buffets is not quite as desirable among some health-conscious patrons. Any time a restaurant can repurpose food destine for the garbage bin, profits soar.
Digging out the middle of a potato to use in other recipes and then stuffing the baked skin with cheese, bacon bits, sour cream, and scallions has been solid-gold gastronomy. Potato skins became so popular that many restaurants began leaving them on french fries and mashed potatoes. This eliminates the task of peeling.
Potato Nutritional Benefits
The trend grew from more than a desire for profits. Spud skins are loaded with disease-fighting nutrients and weight-friendly fiber. Half of a tuber’s fiber is within the skin. But people restricting oxalate consumption should avoid potato skin.
Potatoes are a good source of potassium and provide resistant starch. Not digested in the small intestine, they may improve blood sugar control and digestive health.
Potatoes contain two kinds of glycoalkaloids, both natural toxins, called solanine and chaconine. Exposure to light greatly increases the formation of chlorophyll and glycoalkaloids.
Toxicity is increased by physical injury to the plant, immaturity (green potato), low storage temperature, and storage in bright light. Baking, boiling, frying, or microwaving potatoes does not eliminate glycoalkaloids. However, removing the skin before cooking can reduce the glycoalkaloid content in a raw potato.
A healthy adult would need to eat more than 4 pounds of green potatoes in one sitting in order to have any neurological side effects. So a single green potato within a pot of mashed potatoes is not likely to make anyone sick.
Better Than Skins
Something that may turn organic-loving, health-conscious consumers away from potato skin appetizers is cleanliness. Since potatoes grow underground, they require more than a quick rinse before consumption.
You obviously have more control at home, where you can pick out spudding eyes and scrape off mud pockets with a wire brush. After all that effort, you might want to prepare several skins for the freezer.
When considering potato skins, some people wonder, “Why not just have a whole loaded baked potato?” Wash a large potato well. Slice it in half and coat with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place on an iron skillet in the oven, skin side up, at 400°F for 20 minutes.
Remove from the oven and carefully dig out the center. Mix this with minced garlic, parsley, minced chives, butter, cream, and grated cheddar cheese. Spoon back into the skin and bake skin side down for 15 minutes more at 375°F. Enjoy these twice-baked potatoes. They are so good, you will probably eat the skin too.
🥔 TGI Fridays Cheddar & Bacon Loaded Potato Skins
For those who still can’t get enough potato skins, TGI Fridays still serves the appetizer and they are available in your grocer’s freezer. Would you go as far as eating potato skin chips? Someon has tried to market them.
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