Potatoes in all their forms, from chips to hash, and roast to mash, are magical things. Mash them, stuff them, slice them thinly and bake them in a gratin, or roast them with duck fat, rosemary and flaky sea salt. Potatoes are for winter nights, cold, wet homecomings and comfort dinners.
Potatoes are at their best right now and so this month we have picked out the varieties that you’re likely to find in your local supermarket or food market and provided notes on what they are, how they taste, how to buy them, and what to do with them in the kitchen.
One of the most popular all-rounder potatoes with pink skin and pale yellow, firm flesh that holds its shape well so is excellent boiled, baked, mashed and in salads. Desiree potatoes are not the best choice for frying.
Dutch Creams are large, waxy oval potatoes with yellow flesh, thin skin and a rich, buttery flavour. They make for a beautiful, creamy mash or are just as delicious when roasted, boiled, baked and pureed.
A knobbly, finger-shaped waxy potato with yellow skin and a light yellow flesh with a buttery earthy taste. Great when boiled, steamed, roasted, and in salads but not recommended for frying or chips.
Like a classic little black dress, Pontiac potatoes are a very reliable all-rounder. Identify them by their pink skin and white flesh. Great to bake, roast, boil and mash but not recommended for frying.
Another great all-rounder, Sebago potatoes are long and oval shaped with white flesh and are one of the most common varieties of potatoes found in supermarkets around Australia. Sebago potatoes are best boiled, mashed, roasted, baked, mashed and fried for chips.
New potatoes are freshly harvested potatoes that are small, have white skin and white, firm sweet flesh. They are all-rounders and great for boiling, steaming, pan frying, poaching and roasting.
How to Buy
When buying, potatoes should be firm, well shaped for their variety and blemish free. Do not buy potatoes that are sprouting or have cuts.
How to Store
Remove potatoes from plastic bags and store in a cool and dark ventilated area for up to two weeks. A green tinge to the skin of the potato is caused by a build-up of the chemical solanine, which occurs after exposure to too much light. This green area is toxic and has a bitter taste. If there is only a small amount of green, it can be cut off and discarded and the rest of the potato can be used. If a large section of the potato is green, discard the potato.
Now that you are an expert in the humble spud, it’s time to get cooking. Here are our favourite potato recipes:
Confit Duck and Potato Hash from Bellagio Cafe
Bubble and Squeak from Hobba
Monty Koludrovic’s Potato Gnocchi from Iceberg’s Dining Room
Duck Fat Fish & Chips from The Morrison Bar & Oyster Room
Galician Style Octopus from Robert Burns Hotel
What Else to Buy in July