How To Cook Potatoes.

These versatile starchy tubers are delicious but are also many cooks nightmare in the kitchen.

“How do I cook potatoes?” asks a reader.

Well, how do you want to eat your potatoes?

Firstly, it is important to determine what you want your end result to taste, smell, and feel like. Then you can appropriatley pick between starchy or waxy potatoes.

I would love to spend hours listing the many ways you can cook potatoes (reminding me of Forest Gump and Shrimp) but instead I’m going to restrict myself to talking about some cooking methods not typically tried at home which I love.

Roasted Potatoes.

This is a long process but will result in the perfect roasted potatoes to serve along with your dish of preference. Start off by heavily salting water until it tastes, well, salty. Cut your waxy potatoes into large segments. Potatoes’ high starch content can make it difficult to season well so it is in my opinion a crucial step in cooking potatoes to boil them in salt water. Potatoes should always be added to cold water so that they come up to temperature along with the water, preventing them to overcook on the outer surface and remain raw inside. Once you’re potatoes are half cooked strain them in a large colander. This next step is crucial: shake the strainer! As you shake the strainer, your potatoes’ surface will roughen up creating a better medium for browning. Leave your roughened potatoes to cool, and once all the steam has stopped escaping from their porous interior, place them in the fridge. After about a couple hours, pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees F and get a frying pan with some oil going. The next step is to lightly fry the outside of the potatoes, this will start the browning, but ultimately coat the potatoes in oil and remove their fridge chill. Then, add the aromatics of your choice (onions, apples, or herbs are some ideas) to a roasting pan along with your potatoes. It will take these babies about 30-45 minutes to cook through. Once they come out of the oven you’ll ask yourself why McDonald’s doesn’t serve these instead of french fries. Mr. Blumenthal really takes the medal for perfecting this 3-way method.

Scalloped Potatoes

Slice some waxy potatoes into 1/4″ thick rounds. Lightly fry them on both sides. Then layer them in a baking pan, sprinkle them with salt and bake them until they are soft. It is tremendously easy to add cream, sliced onions, and some cheese in between layers to make a great and simple side dish. Maybe even some beaten eggs: hello Spanish Tortilla.

Home Fries

Such a great way to cook potatoes. But ironically enough it seems like home fries are mostly served in breakfast restaurants and not at home. Lets change that. Grate some potatoes and soak them in water while you great the rest, this will prevent oxidation, which will ruin the color of your beautiful potatoes. When you’re done grating, heat up a large non-stick frying pan and the fat of your preference (bacon fat works magic on these; to get this treasure just cook bacon at really low temperatures to render its fat, don’t forget to eat the bacon.) Drain and pat dry the potatoes and add about a half-fistful to the pan once its hot. I like to press down with a spatula to create a large bottom surface area and thin “patty.” When the bottom is golden brown, flip the patty around and brown the opposite side. Don’t forget to salt and season both sides of the patty. This method is great because the high heat browns the outside and the release of steam cooks the inside giving you a crispy/soft decadent home fry.

Last but not least a quick word on mash. Starchy potatoes, yellow mustard, nutmeg, egg yolks, sour cream, milk, and a good salt water cook down before you mash them are absolutely essential to the best mash. Try also adding steamed veggies (leek, cabbage, red cabbage, kale, collard greens, swiss chard) and other flavorings (garlic, blue cheese, curry paste, etc.)

I hope you have learned how to un-bake a potato.

Until soon.

One Response to “How To Cook Potatoes.”
  1. maría "La jefa" says:

    Las papas las amo. Porque han sido alimento durante los SANGRIENTOS años de guerra y consistieron el sustento de muchos humanos por eso además de su exquisito sabor las amo. Siguen siendo relativamente económicas, duran mucho sin echarse a perder. Y sería bueno recomendarle a tus lectores que la mejor manera de almacenarlas es en lugares obscuros como si siguieran debajo de la tierra.
    Receta de las Papas Panaderas de Pedro “mi ex cocinero”

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