I’m somewhat reticent to admit it, but the side dishes I prepare to accompany our main meals are invariably a way-too-simple selection of vegetables. Boiled, steamed, fried or roasted… depending on the dish they are to supplement and how much time I have to spend on preparing them. They are sadly more of an afterthought, than a feature. Eyes glancing through the crisper drawer once the main meal is underway, to work out what will go well. More of a means for getting nutritious vegetables into our bodies each and every day, than for pure enjoyment.
So in an effort to spice up the sides, to find new and interesting textures and flavours, join me in my mission to bring a little more life to the humble carrot, bean or potato. If you have any simple twists (that don’t require additional hours of prep/cooking) that produce delicious sides, I would love to hear about (and try!) them – please feel free to add a link to your special recipe on your blog if you’ve posted already)!
This idea for coating potatoes in a light sprinkling of polenta/cornmeal worked really well for me… I loved the gritty crunchiness and flavour that the polenta imparts and imagine they could be improved on even further by the addition of some finely chopped herbs (rosemary and thyme come to mind initially). Yet another idea from the beautiful Donna Hay Cookbook, that I’ve been getting plenty of use from lately.
Polenta-Crusted Roast Potatoes | Gather and Graze
- 500g/4 Medium Starchy Potatoes (Peeled and Quartered)
- 40g/¼ Cup Polenta/Cornmeal
- ½-1 Teaspoon Sea Salt
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Pre-heat the oven to 220°C.
Place the potatoes into a large pot of salted water and bring to the boil. Cook for about 10-12 minutes until just tender. Drain and place back into the pot, along with the polenta, salt and olive oil and shake (or stir with a wooden spoon) to coat the potatoes. Tip onto a baking tray and bake in the oven for about 30 minutes until golden and crispy.
These crispy potatoes go beautifully alongside my Oven-Baked Italian Chicken, as can be seen in the background of this final photo.
* Recipe from Donna Hay