A staple in countless countries throughout the world, potatoes come in thousands of varieties, though we typically only consume a handful – in the UK it’s usually Cara, Charlotte, Desirée, Jersey Royal, King Edward, Maris Piper or Rooster. Different potatoes are suited to different cooking methods: for example, boil new potatoes such as Charlottes for salads, but fry Maris Piper for chips. In the UK, we’re more likely to consume white-fleshed potatoes, while yellow-coloured ones are popular on the Continent.
Look for firm potatoes with no greenish tinge or major discolouration on the skin, which indicates decay. Remove any damp mud and store in a cool, dark place such as a larder or cupboard (rather than the fridge), preferably in a paper bag.
Potatoes can be can be boiled, roasted or steamed until tender, then mashed, puréed or simply just served as they are.
Bake potatoes in an oven to create fluffy-centred jacket potatoes. They can be served unadulterated with a little butter, salt and pepper, or with a topping of your choice (grated cheese, beans, tuna mayo, salt cod – the list is endless). To reduce the baking time, potatoes can be microwaved prior to baking to crisp up the skin.
Similarly, potatoes can be roasted. Often this method will recommend that the potatoes are cut into chips or wedges first, before being par-boiled and roasted in vegetable oil, duck or goose fat.
Whichever method you use, the size of the potato will determine the cooking time. To check a potato is cooked, use a skewer or fork - the potatoes should be soft all the way through.
Not to forget that potatoes can also be fried at temperature of 180°C to create one of the favourite forms-chips!
Potatoes are a versatile ingredient. The buttery, creamy, and earthy flavours are a perfect accompaniment to many dishes be it Chicken wings and pomme puree from Daniel Clifford or Alfred Prasad's Indian potato cakes.
The partnership of potatoes and beef is most famous in steak and chips as Josh Eggleton demonstrates in his Rib eye and chips while lamb and potatoes are a match made in heaven in Domnic Chapman's shepherds pie,
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