Potatoes

BAKED POTATO SOUP

Sauté diced onions, leeks and celery. Add chopped thyme, diced Russet Burbank or Sebago potatoes and equal parts milk and stock; simmer until potatoes are tender. Season with salt and pepper.

Puree soup, if desired, or serve as is, topped with shredded cheddar, browned bacon and sliced spring onions.

POTATO HASH

Toss pepitas with oil, sugar, cinnamon and salt. Bake at 180°C until lightly browned.

Whisk together apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, light brown sugar, olive oil, salt and pepper.

In a large bowl, toss hearty greens with roasted diced pumpkin, dried cranberries and vinaigrette. Top with crumbled goat’s cheese, if desired, and sprinkle with candied pepitas.

OVEN-ROASTED FRIES

Cut Russet Burbank, Sebago or other potatoes into wedges 1 cm thick. Toss with olive oil, salt, pepper and spices or chopped fresh herbs. Spread on a baking tray.

Roast at 220°C, turning once, until tender, 35 to 40 minutes.

SMASHED POTATOES WITH CRÈME FRAÎCHE

Cook peeled and diced Sebago potatoes in boiling salted water until tender; drain.

Return potatoes to pan; mash with crème fraîche, warm milk and butter. Season generously with salt and pepper; fold in minced chives.

TORTILLA ESPAÑOLA

In a nonstick pan, fry 1 kg sliced, peeled baking potatoes (such as Pontiac or Desiree) in 1/2 cup olive oil until tender; reserve oil in pan.

In another pan, fry 2 thinly sliced onions in 2 Tbsp olive oil until soft. Whisk 6 eggs; fold in potatoes, onions, salt and pepper. Heat reserved oil; cook egg mixture until bottom is set. Invert tortilla onto plate; return to pan and cook until set.

RAINBOW POTATO SALAD WITH KALE

Cook peeled and diced purple, kipfler and sweet potatoes in boiling salted water until tender; drain and let cool.

Whisk together red wine vinegar, coarse mustard, olive oil, salt and pepper.

Toss potatoes with vinaigrette. Fold in crisp chopped bacon and finely chopped raw kale.

Availability

Potatoes are available year-round but are widely used in autumn and winter cooking.

Selecting

Potatoes come in two main varieties: starchy, which become light and fluffy when cooked, or waxy, which are ideal for roasting or boiling for potato salads. Choose firm specimens that are not blemished, wrinkled, tinged with green or cracked. The buds, commonly called eyes, of the potatoes should not have sprouted.

Preparing

Potatoes are used both peeled and unpeeled. Whether or not you peel the potatoes, scrub them well with a stiff brush under cold running water to remove any dirt. If baking, prick the skins in a few places with a fork. If peeling, use a potato peeler, cutting out the eyes with a paring knife or the tip of the peeler, if necessary. If the flesh is tinged with green spots, be sure to pare away all traces of them, as they will taste bitter.

Storing

Store potatoes in a cool, dark place with good air circulation for up to 2 weeks. Do not refrigerate and do not store in the same bin with onions. These vegetables together produce gases that cause rapid spoilage. New potatoes have a much shorter shelf life than other potatoes. To make the most of their fresh, sweet flavour and texture, use them within 2 or 3 days of purchase.