We have all heard how important it is to eat our greens and vegetables. In general, the more vegetables a person eats, the healthier they will be. No questions or disputes about that. But did you know that eating purple is really good for you too? Well, it is. There are many health benefits found in the purple pigmentation or anthocyanin, found in purple fruits, vegetables and purple potatoes. The American Chemical Society found that eating purple potatoes may lower your blood pressure; may prevent blood clots; can reduce inflammation; can help with liver dysfunction; can help reduce the risks of eye diseases and infections; and can help eliminate constipation and irregularity. And for athletes, particularly those preparing for a big race by loading up on carbs, eating potatoes, especially the purple potatoes, actually provides more carbs and nutrients than eating pasta, without as many negative side effects, while also being easier to digest. Potatoes in general are full of potassium, but apparently the purple pigmentation allows for the purple ones to store and produce even more potassium than other potatoes. They are the most nutrient dense of all the different varieties of potatoes.
Purple potatoes are found mostly in Peru and Bolivia, and have been around since at least 1817. They are part of the nightshade vegetables, also known as the Solanaceae family, along with tomatoes, eggplants and peppers. Purple potatoes have many names, including purple majesty, purple viking, and the purple Peruvian. So in summary, yes, definitely eat your greens, but eat your purple too.
Preparing everything for purple and red potatoes lyonnaise.
Note to self … if using purple potatoes, cook them separately from other potatoes, since their cooking time is a little different. You do not want them to become mushy by over cooking them.
2 lbs potatoes – your choice of variety, or mix and match as I did
vegetable or canola oil for frying
1 TBSP olive oil
1-2 large shallots, sliced very thin
2 TBSP butter
1-2 heaping TBSP garlic
salt and pepper to taste
Saute the shallots and garlic with the olive oil and butter, stirring frequently. You want the shallots and garlic to be a light golden brown and crispy. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Rinse and clean the potatoes and put in a large pan. Cover with water and bring to a boil and simmer for about 10 minutes. Drain the water and let cool slightly. Heat the cooking oil in a large skillet. Once the oil is hot, add the potatoes, in batches. Let them pan fry for about 10 minutes or until crisp. Toss together with the cooked shallots and garlic, along with salt & pepper to taste and fresh chopped parsley. You can also add cooked ham or bacon as well, if you want, to make them a little hardier.