Making the most of vegetable 'superstars'

Potatoes, tomatoes and mushrooms are the most popular vegetables in New Zealand, according to a campaign to promote these three ''superstars''. All three are nutritious (as all vegetables are) and available year round - although I have to question the claim on the website that they are ''always in season''.

Tomatoes are not in season in winter although pale, relatively flavourless versions of them are available - tinned ones are a better substitute for cooking. Only now are fresh ones coming into their own and then it's worth making the most of them.

You may still find local new potatoes, small and waxy. However, potatoes are available all year round. The big old ones that have been stored since harvest are floury, so are delicious roasted or mashed at this time of year.

Mushrooms are grown in the dark in special sheds, so are available year round.

Salsa verde
Serves 4-6

600g new-season potatoes (halved)
250g cherry tomatoes
250g button mushrooms - white or brown (halved)

2 tsp fresh crushed garlic
2 tsp capers
2 pickled gherkins or 6-8 cornichons
6 anchovy fillets
2 handfuls fresh flat leaf parsley
2 handfuls fresh basil
1 handful fresh mint
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
ground black pepper

Boil the potatoes until cooked. Drain, cool and place in a large bowl.

Add the cherry tomatoes and mushrooms (raw) to the bowl with the cooled potatoes.

To make the dressing place all other ingredients into a food processor and pulse gently until the ingredients combine, but remain chunky. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Pour the dressing over the potatoes, mushrooms and tomatoes and toss.

If you don't have the time to make up this dressing use your favourite store-bought dressing.

Tomato stuffed mushrooms with crushed potatoes
Serves 6

1kg general purpose potatoes
300g large truss tomatoes
4 Tbsp pesto
½ cup chunky breadcrumbs (panko)
6 large or 12 medium-sized mushrooms' Portobellos
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
210g feta cheese, crumbled
ground black pepper

Boil potatoes until cooked. Drain and set aside.

Dice tomatoes and toss with pesto and breadcrumbs.

Arrange mushrooms on a baking tray and top with the tomato mixture. Bake in oven for 15-20 minutes at 200degC.

Meanwhile, add the olive oil and the feta to the potatoes.

Gently crush the potatoes with a fork or put the lid back on the pot and shake about. Divide the potatoes into six equal portions and lightly flatten on to a separate baking tray, place in the oven for 10 minutes at 200degC until they start to brown.

Serve the stuffed mushrooms with the crushed potatoes alongside.

Want to know more?
For more information and recipes, visit


Add a Comment