When you look at a potato, there is not much to say about it – in itself, it is a root vegetable, which is hard to eat raw and looks a bit boring on it’s own. It does not look too appetising either to be fair, covered in dust and soil. But watch what happens when you add on a little milk, or butter or boil it in salt water… The humble potato transforms into tasty soft pillow like peaks, or absorbs plenty of coconut milk and obtains this lovely flavour which is just sufficiently delicate to taste.
Below you can find 12 of my favourite ways to prepare this humble vegetable:
Basic, classic Puree – peel and boil potatoes till super soft and drain the water off. Then add enough milk to cover the bottom of your pot and bring to the boil. Now add some butter, nutmeg, salt & pepper, and mash till smooth. Take a spoon and taste some of the puree, and add on extra seasoning if required.
Puree Duchesse style – Make a normal potato puree with milk, butter, nutmeg, salt & pepper and the egg yolk, and serve.
Pommes Duchesse – Make a basic puree with milk, butter, nutmeg, salt & pepper and an egg yolk. Instead of serving as a puree, spoon the puree in a piping bag and pipe individual rosettes of puree. Now bake in the oven until the ridges are golden brown on 190 degrees celsius for approx. 25 minutes, or till golden brown.
Pommes Dauphinoise – Take thin slices of raw potato and layer these in a buttered baking tray or ramekins for individual portions. In a saucepan, mix cream and herbs (pepper, salt, thyme, rosemary and shallot if using, and slowly heat this up. Once the milk starts bubbling, take off the heat. Poor 3/4 of this mixture over the sliced potatoes, and ensure the potatoes are nicely presented. Then poor over the remainder of the mixture and add on grated cheese. Now slow cook in a hot oven on 160 degrees until all potatoes are soft. An alternative to regular cream could be coconut cream.
Puree with Spinach – make a basic puree and set aside, but keep warm. In a sauce pan, melt some butter and add on fresh spinach with just a touch of cream. Stir till the spinach is wilted. For extra flavour, season with minced garlic, pepper, salt and ground nutmeg. Once the spinach is ready, stir this under the mashed potatoes
Puree with egg – make a basic puree and set aside, but keep warm. Boil 1 – 2 eggs for 4 to 5 minutes (depending on how cold the eggs are from the fridge) till soft. Peel and mash the soft boiled eggs under the puree.
Belgian Fries – these are the very popular oil deep fried slice potatoes, crispy, golden brown and hot. Peel some large potatoes and slice horizontally in slices which are approx. 1 cm thick. Cut each slice in sticks of approx 0.5 cm width and rinse with plenty of water. This is to remove the excess starch that is being released. Drain the water from the potatoes, and pat these dry on a clean kitchen towel, till properly dried. Please make sure that the fries are sufficiently dry as we will cook them in hot oil. If the fries are still wet, the water will make the oil boil which can be dangerous! Heat your deep fat fryer up to 160 degrees C and cook the fries for 3/4 al dente, approx 5 minutes. Take them out of the oil and set aside on kitchen towel which will absorb the excess oil and stop the fries from absorbing the extra oil. Right before serving, increase the heat of your deep fat fryer to 180 degrees, and cook the fries very short until the edges colour golden brown. Take out of the oil and again put on tissue paper to absorb any excess oil. I would use a good frying oil or vegetable oil for this but not olive oil as this will affect the taste!
Potato & sweet potato oven roasted wedges – peel and slice your potatoes in wedges. Preheat your oven to 180 – 200 degrees Celsius. Cover a large baking tray with baking paper and add the potato wedges on. Sprinkle with rosemary, garlic, thyme, fennel or herb of preference and toss with (coconut) oil. Bake for 20 -25 minutes till soft and brown.
Cold in potato salad – peel and boil some potatoes in salted water for 15 to 20 minutes till soft. Drain the water and leave to cool. Once cold, cut the potatoes in small pieces and season with pepper and salt. Mix under a spoonful of mayonnaise, and add on other ingredients for your salad such as (turkey) ham, peas, diced tomato or other as preferred.
Pan Baked potatoes – peel and boil some potatoes whole in salted water for 15 to 20 minutes. Drain the water and slice the now still hot potatoes in slices of 2-4 mm thick. Heat up a skillet on a medium heat, and melt in some butter. Carefully bake the slices of potato till golden brown and crisp on the outside. Inside the potatoes will be soft and tasty.
Jacket potatoes with herb and garlic butter – boil some unpeeled potatoes whole in salted water for 15 to 20 minutes, or until soft. Drain the water and peel the hot potatoes. Carefully half the potatoes horizontally so you have 2 not equal halves. On the larger bottom half, place some slices of garlic and herb butter, and add the thinner ‘top’ of the potato as a lid. Let the butter melt and serve.
Potatoes on the barbecue – Scrub and rinse your whole potatoes till clean, but don’t peel them. Place the potatoes onto a sufficiently large piece of aluminium foil and sprinkle with a little sea salt. Wrap tightly and put inside the barbecue on a grill, or on the side of the barbecue, away from the hot coal. This will make the potato cook in its own juices. Depending on the size of the potato, leave for 20 to 30 minutes or until soft. Unwrap the potato and slice in half and add on condiments such as garlic & herb butter, or garlic mayonnaise or cheese.
Hope you’ll be trying any of these recipes, and let me know if you have a favourite one for me to try out!