Journal

Food is my way of saying “let’s be friends”

Join Alice in the kitchen with articles, recipes and more tasty goodness below.

Foodie Tuesday: Potatoes

"It's what you do with them!" Culinary correspondent Alice Zaslavsky and listeners tell host Raf Epstein about the endless ways to transform the humble tuber staple, and of course, the secret to crispy roast potatoes.

Alice’s potato tips (and chips!)

  1. Seasonality: Though you’ll be able to find potatoes all year round at the shops, they definitely taste best during the cooler months – and lend themselves well to cold weather cooking.
  2. What to look for: I like to buy my potatoes dirty, because they tend to store better, but I’m also feeling for firm tubers, that haven’t started to yield to a lack of moisture. Green bits will need to be cut out before cooking, as will any potato eyes.
  3. Varieties to look out for: New potatoes are a delightful find in the summer-time and make for fantastic potato salads. The general rule I go by, is to keep pink potatoes for boiling/steaming and roast the yellow potatoes. That’s because starchy potatoes hold their shape well for boiling, but become a gluey mess if you try to mash them. These days, you’ll tend to have some pretty handy labelling going on, so keep an eye out for instructions, or ask your friendly greengrocer for their recommendations – it’ll make a big difference to your end result.
  4. How to store: Potatoes prefer a cool, dark place, and simply MUST be kept away from onions, because they’re a terrible influence on each-other.
  5. How to cook: You’ll find potato recipes from most parts of the world, and will no doubt have a family favourite that reminds you of home. For me, boiled potatoes, loaded with butter and served with herring, mackerel or sardines
  6. Complementary pairings: Butter, Chives, Cream, Curry Powder, Garlic, Pepper, Rosemary, Thyme.

Plus we had some wonderful suggestions on the textline from our listeners:

  • Irish Champ ….. mashed potatoes with spring onions and milk and butter. Heat the spring onions with the milk before adding to the potatoes with butter, salt and pepper.
  • My favourite potato mash is a mixture of either potato and celeriac or potato and pumpkin. Lots of butter and a dash of milk. Great on cottage pie. Linelle from Williamstown
  • I grew up for 37 years with my Irish dad making the world’s BEST creamy mash potato. Until… two years ago my uncle (his brother) visited from the US and shocked everyone as he keeps the skin on his mash!! The mash is – dare I say it – even better. Needless to say my dad, 82 and his brother 72 were at odds over whose recipe reigns supreme.
  • Par boil, rough em up and a little duck fat, salt flakes. Rosemary. Matt In Ballarat
  • Hi Raf. Jamie Oliver roast potato is the best. Par boil first and then roast with olive oil, duck fat potatoes and rosemary and garlic. DUTCH CREMES BEST FOR ROASTING. Cheryl Bendigo
  • Potatoes from microwave just to cook to garlic and cheese fry up to par boiled then oven baked with onion and bacon to finish. Grew up on a farm in Sweden, boiled potatoes 7 nights a week so need variety in my old age. Pat from Blackburn
  • No need to parboil.…just put em baking tray with water and olive oil on tray…works by steam and evaporation…light fluffy and crispy. Add carrots and parsnip also at star…pumpkin and sweet potato in later. Never fails.
  • Score them after boiling.
  • Mash with garlic fried in olive oil, seeded mustard and horseradish.
  • Try roasting them in bacon or pancetta fat, dressed with red wine vinegar and olive oil. Flavour madness. Greg Ballarat
  • Chips/wedges made from Kipflers. Keep cooking them for ages…The best flavoured potato. Matt In Ballarat.
  • Little squeeze of wasabi into the mashed potato – gives it a bite! Tom in Coburg
  • “Flash mash” – with garlic & parmesean =M – Nicki (Box Hill)
  • Boil potatoes for mashing with slices of lemon and smashed garlic clove in the water (discard before mashing)
  • Best super crispy smashed potatoes. Boil and cool baby spuds. Squish and brush with butter and oil. Roast. Anne in Geelong
  • Scallop potatoes! Super easy! Just use those white waxy potatoes, slice, chuck in onions, cream and tasty cheese or Parmesan as well. And salt! Then chuck in oven. Sometimes add broccoli and it pumpkin on top under the cheese. Lazy but delicious meal. Dee
  • You can make pseudo-schmaltz by slow frying onions and carrot in Copha and storing in the freezer. True chicken fat schmaltz is probably healthier =M Curly Geelong
  • I make a potato mash with some butter, nutmeg, salt, pepper. I put spinach leaves in saucepan with some butter, cook for few minutes, blend and then mix in with mash. Delicious
  • 10min in microwave then cover in vegeta and roast them
  • If you roasted potatoes at my place without par-boiling them first I’d ask you to leave. Greg Ballarat.

Foodie Tuesday airs on Drive with Raf Epstein, 4.20pm Tuesdays on ABC Radio Melbourne. For more delicious discussions with Melbourne chefs and foodies, plus thousands of their tasty recipes, check out the archives.

Go Back