The ultimate comfort food, potatoes are affordable, versatile and nutritious. We're shares some of our favourite recipes, tips and ideas on how to cook a kitchen hero - the humble spud. First, we need to define the difference between the types of potatoes and for what recipes they're best used for.
Late season - These potatoes are perfect for baking, mashing, roasting or making chips and wedges. They are fluffy on the inside due to their low water content and high starch levels, and are great at absorbing flavours too. Farro recommends the Agria and Red Rascal varieties.
All-purpose - The heavy-weight of the potato world, all-purpose potatoes will do the trick at times of the year when you can’t find new or late season varieties. The Rua, Desiree and Moonlight varieties are versatile enough to work for all cooking types and with moderate starch.
New-season - Perfect for late summer potato salads, boiling, braising or to add to a stew. These potatoes have a high water content and are low in starch. They have a dense texture and retain their shape during cooking. Look on the Farro shelves for Agria, Draga, Nadine or Frisia.
5 WAYS WITH POTATOES:
1. Potato and bean curry
Temper spices – a good combination is black mustard seed, cumin, coriander seed, and curry leaves, but use what you have in the pantry. Add crushed onion, garlic and ginger, fry until translucent. Add cooked cubes of Agria potato, frozen green beans, and garam masala and cook until everything is tender. Serve with fresh coriander and roti.
2. Baked potatoes
Baked potatoes are a hearty meal and a good way to use up a couple of tins of black beans. While potatoes are cooking, heat beans in a saucepan and add chipotle sauce if you have it, or if not then use paprika, cumin, a little cinnamon and chilli to introduce Mexican hints. Slice open baked potatoes and stuff with black bean mixture, top with grated cheese and bake until cheese is golden and bubbling. Check out our recipe for Crispy Smashed Potatoes here.
3. Potato salad
Potato salad needn’t come with a creamy dressing. Your pantry can yield all the right touches: whisk together mustard (grainy, Dijon or plain are all fine) with whatever type of vinegar you have and a little crushed garlic and honey, season well, and toss through steamed potatoes. Then go to town with any flavour-rich items you may have – think chopped olives, capers, a little anchovy, pesto, tinned tuna. Feel free to add any fresh greens you may have – rocket, herbs, sliced celery, or just keep it simple.
4. Fridge-raid hash
Leftover cooked potatoes offer a good excuse for a fridge-raid brunch. Slice them up (or scoop them up if they’re mashed!), along with any odds and ends you have in the vegetable crisper – things like zucchini, capsicum, spring onion, spinach, as well as an onion and a few cloves of garlic. Heat olive oil and fry everything together, adding a sprinkle of paprika, salt and pepper and a splash of Worcestershire sauce. If you like, crack in some eggs – one per person, and cook through. Once veg is tender, serve up hot with any likely accompaniments you might have: chilli sauce, chutneys, and pickles.
Potato gnocchi is surprisingly simple to make. Take any simple potato gnocchi recipe but start with baking potatoes whole first rather than boiling or steaming (Agria or other floury variety work best). Slip them out of their skins once they’ve cooled. Then push the flesh through a ricer or sieve, and bring together with just enough sifted flour to form a light dough – an egg yolk or two is optional. Shape dough into snake-like logs and slice into pieces. Cook in very generously salted boiling water until they float to the top. Keep your sauce simple and douse gnocchi in browned butter, cheese and a few sage leaves.
Avoid potatoes with green patches, shoots and any bruised areas. Some potato varieties are a little misshaped or have eyes in them, which is completely fine!