Over the past few decades, the humble potato has gained an unfair reputation as a bland and unappetising vegetable, forever boiled to death in our Mums’ kitchens, a symbol for everything that was wrong with British food. And yet the potato remains one of favourite vegetables. Nutritious, versatile and with many brilliant varieties abundant in British fields, it’s time to re-evaluate the potato and see how it can be a tasty, healthy and locally-sourced ingredient for brilliant meals and snacks. After all, who can really resist the smell of chips or roast potatoes? So we’ve come up with five great ways to use potatoes to create something delicious.
Make Your Own Crisps
There are few things as tempting as a plate of crispy McCain chips, the perfect accompaniment for many a mouth-watering meal. But if you fancy making something other than chips with your potatoes, why not try making your own crisps? Just peel your potatoes into thin strips, drizzle with olive oil, place them on a baking sheet and add salt and pepper. Pop them in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes until they start to, well, crisp, and then leave them to cool on a piece of kitchen towel. Once they’ve become nice and crispy, pop them in an air-tight container and they’ll keep for up to three days.
Gnocchi can be made with polenta, ricotta or pumpkin, but the potato-based version enjoyed in Northern Italy remains a favourite. Make perfect potato gnocchi by using Désirée potatoes. Wash and dry them and then prick them all over. Cover the bottom of a baking tray with rock salt and place the potatoes on top. Bake them for an hour and then peel the skins off. Scatter 250g of flour on a clean surface and push the potatoes through a sieve on to the flour. Make a ‘well’ in the centre and add two beaten eggs. Mix the dough you’ve made, separate it into strips and then roll the strips into sausage-shapes. Cut them into 1cm-wide segments and add to simmering water until they rise to the surface. Your gnocchi is now ready to serve.
Roast them for an appetiser
Just as everyone love chips, we all love roast potatoes. Roasting potatoes changes their texture and concentrates their flavour. As well as having roasters with your Sunday lunch, why not try them as an appetiser before your big dinner? Dip them in ketchup, use them with other leftovers to make a salad or serve them with rice. They’re the perfect side dish for lots of great meals.
If you’ve never tried frittata, you’re missing a treat. Essentially an omelette which is baked in the oven, try making a zucchini-potato version. Add your potatoes and one onion to a pan and heat until the potatoes are soft. Increase the heat until the potatoes turn brown. Heat the zucchini and some bacon, and sauté until the zucchini is tender. Then beat six eggs and mix in the zucchini, bacon and potatoes, before putting back on the heat for ten minutes. Finally put your mixture into the oven for 15 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve.
Make a curry
Potatoes make a good base for soups like fish chowder and ajiaco, but they are also a key ingredient for many curries. Try making aloo dum, the most common vegetable curry in India. It’s very easy to make: simply boil your potatoes, fry them with some garam masala, add tomato, chilli, tumeric and salt, and then you’re done.
So there are five interesting ways that you can use potatoes to create something tasty. They show just how versatile potatoes can be and how flavourful they can taste if cooked in the right way. Try experimenting today.