I bought some huge potatoes the other day and have decided to make stuffed potatoes, a new item for me. I see that obviously you have to bake them first, but I don't have the slightest idea how since it is not part of my food culture. The sites say things like 'rub oil on them, prick the skins, bake for 60 minutes, etc.' but I'l thinking there must be some special tricks you need to know to avoid some unexpected mishap (exploding potatoes; mushy on the outside, totally raw on the inside; and probably other things I can't even imagine).
My hand is up Sir ;D I did some last week like this:
Put the spuds in the microwave and micro for 3min then check if spongy/soft-ish, otherwise do more time. Leave to cool so you can handle them. Cut in half when warm and using a metal spoon gouge out the soft inside and drop into a bowl. Place potato/potatoes on a baking sheet/oven proof flatish dish. Mash the potato in the bowl adding whatever spices and other meat/veg/cheese you like. Spoon back into halves - don't compress but try and get a little mound. Decorate with more cheese or brush with butter or spray with olive oil. Bake until looking brown and gorgeous!
Tip: You can deep fry the skin halves to get a really crisp little boat shape before stuffing but I don't bother.
Casi - Sorry hon but we don't get too much choice. Only "Baking potatoes" or "Boiling potatoes". Occasionally we see a kind of red skinned variety at Woolworths Food Stores. The best 'baked' potato I ever tasted in my life was on Guernsey! Huge and with a gorgeous nutty flavour.
I find it hard to believe, but I could not find a thread with just this simple title. We've talked about fries, chips, potato salad, whether or not to peel potatoes, easy ways to peel potatoes. So maybe somebody else will find the thread that I couldn't find, but in the meantime I have a question.
I find it difficult to choose between white potatoes and red potatoes (no problem with sweet potatoes at all because I never touch those horrible things). Yes, I know there are other colours of potatoes, but those two are the most common in many supermarkets.
In France, they try to confuse you, because the various potatoes are labelled according to what you want to do with them: soup, boiled, fries, mashed... Dammit, I want all purpose potatoes, because if I were just thinking about one kind of use, I would probably have to buy no more than two potatoes at a time and I want to buy a big bag of them!
Anyway, I find that I nearly always buy white potatoes while being tempted by the red ones. I have this perhaps unfounded idea that red potatoes discolour more rapidly if you do not cook them immediately. I remember my grandmother covering the peeled potatoes with a towel or keeping them submerged in a tub of water to prevent discolouration.
Then again, who cares if they change colour a bit?
Do we have any potato experts here to enlighten me?
I'm no expert, but I usually find our red more flavorful than our white. I love sliced red potatoes cooked with peppers and onions. However, if I was making mashed potatoes (rare for me), I would use the white.
I remember peeled potatoes soaking in water when I was a child, but I honestly never feel a need to do that when I'm cooking. My peeled and sliced potatoes end up in the cooking pot much quicker than my mother's, I suppose.
I remember my mom soaking her potatoes as well, but it was just out of convenience, peeling them in the morning after breakfast, soak until onto the stove for supper. One less chore do get done when preparing Sunday dinner.
Always white potatoes for mashed and red for baked with olive oil, butter and garlic in the summer on the BBQ. I also like red potatoes for my potato salad.
Yes, I was reading that there are two reasons for soaking potatoes -- to remove excess starch and to keep them from oxidizing if they are not cooked immediately. You are supposed to wipe and dry them before cooking. My grandmother used a fresh dish towel for that.
If you are boiling the potatoes, however, naturally there is no reason to soak or dry them.
Oh, I'm so glad!! Thank you Kerouac. I reread all the posts earlier. There are some real gems in here, some fabulous links to some fabulous recipes and input from so many posters. Pity it were to have gotten lost...
Last evening I took a major departure from the relatively conventional way in which I prepare potatoes. This was a killer dish when all was said and done and tasted. I braised the potatoes in oil to start and then added coconut milk (thinned a wee with water). I added ginger, onion and curry powder. Garnished them with cilantro and Thai chili.
I often put lots of turmeric in the water in which I boil potatoes. Not only does it give them a pleasant tint, but it also adds a pleasant flavour in addition to whatever else do with them. I haven't tried it with potatoes that I use for potato salad, but I'm sure that I will before long.
That sounds really good, Casimira. I need to get some coconut milk and try things with it. I've never used it because I never knew how. I'd also like to try your potato method with the addition of some seeds, such as cumin &/or anise.
I've done that forever -- boiled potatoes with turmeric, but didn't know anyone else did. It's really good with potatoes for potato salad, not only for taste, but psychologically the salad just seems richer.
I don't know if this was ever answered, but here's what I know from cooking many tons of potatoes during my restaurant career:
All white and red potatoes will discolor after they've been peeled. Some take longer than others. Keeping them covered with cold or room-temperature water will help, but if you leave them there long enough - and especially if you have sliced or grated them - they will turn sort of pink and disgusting. You can rinse the pink gunk off, though - it's just oxydized starch - and they will be just fine. You should always dry them thoroughly, no matter what you plan to do with them.
I only remember a couple of gourmet recipes which mentioned removing as much starch as possible. I somehow doubt you'd be interested in making sure that your pile of nickel-sized, 1/32" potato slices remained delicately white and separate after poaching them briefly in home-made vegetable stock, after which you meticulously dried each one before you applied them all with melted butter to a skinless fish fillet so they looked like scales, after which the whole thing was sauteed in extra-virgin olive oil so it vaguely resembled the original fish - but if you are interested, let me know.
Starch is good because it makes potatoes brown faster in the oven or when you fry them (especially twice). Starch is also good when you want potatoes to stick together, as when you mash them or make latkes or pommes Anna. On the other hand, don't use a food processor or electric mixer for too long to mash potatoes, because overworking the starch turns it to inedible glue, which is a bitch.
Red potatoes contain much less starch than white ones of any variety. They are best for boiling and potato salad, because they don't fall apart unless you really overcook them to death.
You can make soup with any kind of potatoes, and you can mix the varieties, to make the texture more interesting.
I agree that I have never seen so many varieties of white potatoes as there are in Paris. Never thought I'd have to play "20 Questions" just to make dinner...
The only thing I have against sweet potatoes in Paris is the price!
When I was living with my grandparents, the moment my grandmother had finished washing the breakfast dishes, she would peel potatoes for lunch and leave them whole in a bowl of water until it was time to cook them. And she did indeed wipe them dry with a kitchen towel before slicing them into fries or cutting them up to roast them.