The fourth of July is the quintessential American holiday filled with lots of loud noises, smoke and down home foods. Families and friends gather to celebrate around picnic tables laden with hot dogs, chocolate chip cookies and the iconic potato salad.
Growing up, I can not remember a picnic, family reunion or summer BBQ without a potato salad. It is no wonder they are so popular at these functions as they are easy to fix ahead, effortlessly made into large quantities and they are a cheap way to feed the masses. Oh, and everybody loves them.
Unfortunately potatoes which have quite a bit of insulin producing starch in them, have caused quite the controversy among the primal/paleo folks. On one hand potatoes are a whole food that require very little processing to eat. Just toss them in the over and an hour later, pure dee comfort. Potatoes also are loaded with vitamin C, potassium and B6, If you eat their skins you get a bonus of minerals and soluble fiber.
Also tuberous foods have been eaten for thousands and thousands of years by our ancestors. Evidence has found that the early relative to the potato was consumed in Northern Europe by our Paleo papas and mommas. Chimps dig up tubers and eat them and they actually have less salivary amylase to break down starches than we do. (Which is an enzyme in the saliva that starts the process of digesting starch.)
On the other side of the argument, potatoes have been hybridized by modern farming to be big fat starch bombs. They are so carbo laden that they set off insulin production and pack on the pounds just by looking at them. Now some people are born with fast metabolisms and can eat foods like this and not see much difference. Most of American, however, whose metabolisms are already insulin resistant, potatoes wreak havoc on the ability to burn fat and make you gain weight….fast.
So the decision ultimately lies with you. Now I personally adore potatoes. One of my favorite foods and they make my body feel so happy. But I do notice two things when I eat them, 1) I can’t stop eating them. (RED FLAG) and 2) they set off cravings. (double RED FLAG) Yet, since they are a whole food and a great love of mine, I have chosen to categorize them with chocolate and nuts; as treat a food but not a “never” food. What do you think of potatoes?
The fourth of July, to me, is a treat time. So potato salad is in, but highly modified. I add sweet potatoes and green beans to make up for the small amount of potatoes I put in. One can eliminate all the white potatoes and substitute cauliflower, chopped into small florets, for them. That way is pretty good too if you want to avoid starch bombs altogether. This recipe is fun to make, beautiful to look at and super delicious. Enjoy your family and friends on this great kick off to summer fun!
Roasted Garlic Potato Salad
3 medium sweet potatoes
2 pounds of small potatoes
OR 2 pounds of cauliflower, chopped into bite size
1 pound of fresh green beans
1 sweet onion chopped
2 – 4 heads of garlic
2-4 tablespoons of olive oil
1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
1/2 teaspoon of salt
4 ribs of celery chopped
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
4 pieces of cooked bacon, crumbled
1/4 cup of olive oil
2-4 tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese (optional)
Zest of a half lemon
Juice of a half lemon
2 tablespoons of fresh herb(s), such as tarragon, dill or thyme
2 tablespoons of fresh parsley
The baked garlic
Fresh cracked pepper and salt to taste
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Wash and chop your potatoes, onion and green beans into bite size uniform pieces. Place in a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper. Using your hands, toss potato mix until all is coated. Spread them on a baking sheet. Take the garlic heads and chop off the top to reveal the top of each clove. Rub the head chopped side down in the oiled bowl to coat with olive oil. (There should be some left in the bowl that didn’t stick to the potatoes.)
Tuck the garlic blubs in the potatoes face up and put in the oven to bake. Bake for about 30 minutes till tender but firm, stirring once during the bake time. When the potatoes are done cooking, let them cool till room temperature. When the garlic blubs are cool enough to handle, squeeze the cloves into a small bowl then mix together the dressing. I like to do the dressings in the blender but it can be whisked together as well.
Dump the potato/veggie mix into a large beautiful bowl and toss in the red onion, bacon crumbles and celery. Drizzle the dressing over them all and toss together till well mixed then either serve right away or keep in the fridge till your ready. As with many of these kinds of dishes, they are better the next day. Enjoy!