Hot for potatoes
I was recently introduced to a new variety of potato at the local farmers’ market. Named Anushka, this golden-fleshed potato was so full of flavour I couldn’t get enough. However, all good things must come to an end — its season has finished.
Different varieties of potatoes are now becoming more readily available. At the recent New Zealand Guild of Food Writers’ Market Day I discovered: Sunlite — a lower-carb potato with great flavour; Moonlight — a general purpose potato that is not too floury and not too waxy: and Dolce Vita — a yellow-fleshed spud suitable for baking, roasting and mashing as well as fries and wedges.
Although some varieties are available year-round their textures change over the months. At the beginning of the season the texture may be waxy making the potato suitable for boiling or salads. During the year the natural sugars in the potato turn to starch turning it floury and more suitable for mashing, roasting, baking and fries.
Most potatoes these days are sold by their end use. After cook-testing samples of their crops, growers attach labels to the bags indicating what that particular variety of potato is suited to at that particular time of the year.
Potatoes should be stored in cool dark place. I usually remove any purchased in plastic bags to a Maori flax basket that I find keeps the potatoes from sprouting too quickly, then store it in the pantry. Alternatively you can store them in brown paper carry bags.
Potatoes.co.nz is an excellent website to visit if you have any doubts about which potato is best for your recipe.
A Japanese-style smashed potato salad. Serves 6-8
750g Anushka, Laura or Moonlight potatoes or other potato suitable for mashing
Sea salt to taste
2 Lebanese cucumbers
2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
½ cup Japanese-style mayonnaise eg Kewpie
½ teaspoon Karahsi (hot mustard)
1 small carrot, diced
1 spring onion, chopped
3 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
- Peel and quarter the potatoes. Place in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Add salt and bring to the boil on high heat. Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes until the potatoes can be pierced with a skewer. Drain and cool.
- Meanwhile, halve the cucumbers lengthwise and slice into 1cm pieces. Place in a bowl and sprinkle with salt. Mix well and stand for 10 minutes. Drain then rinse in cold water. Pat dry.
- Combine the rice vinegar, mayo and mustard in a bowl.
- When the potatoes are cool, roughly mash with a fork or potato masher. Add the cucumbers, carrot, spring onion and eggs. Combine with the mayo mixture. Mix well.
A delicious light meal for two.
350g mashing potatoes, peeled
100g wood roasted salmon
1-2 teaspoons each: wasabi paste, lemongrass paste
1 spring onion, diced
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons rice bran oil
- Boil the potatoes, until soft. Drain and mash well. Cool.
- Break the salmon into small pieces. Combine with the cold mashed potato, wasabi, lemongrass paste, spring onion and egg. Using wet hands, form the mixture into 4 round cakes.
- Heat the oil and pan-fry the cakes on medium until golden on both sides and heated through, about 5 minutes
- Great served on wilted spinach, garnished with thinly sliced, raw rainbow beetroot (Chioggia) and a lemon pickle.
Fennel and potato soup
Great topped with pan-fried sliced chorizo or fennel seed garnished croutons. Serves 8.
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large onions, diced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 litre chicken or vegetable stock
1 kg mashing potatoes, peeled & chopped
1 fennel bulb, trimmed & thinly sliced
1 cup cream
Salt & pepper to taste
2 tablespoons chopped parsley & fennel fronds, if available
- Heat the oil in a saucepan and sauté the onions and garlic on low heat, until translucent. Add the stock and bring to the boil. Add the potatoes and fennel bulb and cook until tender, about 15 minutes.
- Purée the mixture in a food processor, until smooth.
- Reheat just before serving. Stir in the cream, salt, pepper and herbs. Thin, if necessary, with a little milk.
Slow cooker potatoes
A great idea for baking potatoes while the meat and other vegetables roast in the conventional oven. Serves 8.
8 medium baking potatoes, washed and dried
Flaky sea salt to taste
- Prick the potatoes with a fork in several places. Brush the potatoes lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt.
- Wrap each potato firmly in foil.
- Place in a slow cooker, seam-side down. Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours. Keep the potatoes warm if necessary on the ‘warm’ setting of the slow cooker.