Hot potato recipes

Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes (Handout)

Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes (Handout)

ELIZABETH BAIRD, Special to QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:03 AM ET

You've heard this party game question before: If you are stranded on a dessert island and you had only three foods, what would they be? Chocolate? Steak? Smoked salmon?

Maybe some of the ship-wrecked could subsist on those treats. I, on the other hand, would choose potatoes as my salvation food. Not that I would, of course, have the ingredients to make the nice potato-centric dishes below. But since we're not currently stuck on an island, we can indulge in the comfort of a perfect roasted, mashed or even scalloped potato with a twist.

CRUNCHY SESAME POTATOES

Inspired by a Madhur Jaffrey recipe, this way of cooking potatoes is novel, and the dish goes very well with grilled and roasted poultry, beef, lamb and pork.

20 small new potatoes (2 lb/1 kg)

1/4 cup (50 ml) canola oil

2 tsp. (10 ml) cumin seeds

2 Tbsp. (30 ml) sesame seeds

1/2 tsp. (2 ml) salt

2 Tbsp. (30 ml) lemon juice

Freshly ground pepper

Scrub potatoes. In saucepan of boiling salted water, cover and cook potatoes until just fork tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and let cool. (Make-ahead: Store in bowl, lightly covered, for up to 3 hours.)

In large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add cumin, sesame seeds and salt; fry until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Add potatoes, turning them to coat with seed mixture.

Reduce heat to medium-low and fry, turning potatoes until crunchy and coated with golden seeds, about 15 minutes. Transfer to warm serving dish. Sprinkle with any seeds from pan, plus lemon juice and pepper to taste.

Makes 5 to 6 servings.

BUTTERMILK MASHED POTATOES

In a world of butter and cream-laden mashed potatoes, it's a relief to mash up potatoes that are particularly tasty - it's the tangy buttermilk that does it - and not high in fat. Herbs are variable, and can be parsley, dill, chives, even thyme, oregano, sage or marjoram - but just enough to speckle the mash.

6 medium-large potatoes, about 3 lb. (1.5 kg)

1-1/4 cups (300 ml) buttermilk

1 Tbsp. (15 ml) butter

1 Tbsp. (15 ml) snipped chives or green onion tops

1 tsp. (5 ml) chopped fresh dill or parsley

Peel potatoes; cut into cubes. In saucepan of boiling salted water, cover and cook potatoes until tender but not split, about 15 to 20 minutes. Drain and return to pan.

Mash or, for maximum smooth potatoes, press through ricer or food mill. With wooden spoon, beat in buttermilk and butter. Season with chives and dill.

Makes 6 servings.

VARIATIONS:

- Cheddar Mashed Potatoes: Beat in 1/2 to 3/4 cup (125 to 175 ml) shredded old Cheddar into potatoes with chives and dill.

- Pepper Mashed Potatoes: Saute 3/4 cup (175 ml) diced sweet red pepper in 2 Tbsp. (30 ml) butter until crisp tender. Stir into mashed potatoes with chives. Omit dill.

HERB ROASTED POTATOES

Small potatoes work beautifully in this oven-ready recipe, but to use larger potatoes, cut into chunks, peeling if desired. At this time of year, potato skins are generally very tender, and of course, delicious, especially when crisp. Potatoes go beautifully with thyme, but also with sage leaves, dried or fresh, tucked among the potatoes.

20 small new potatoes (2 lb/1 kg)

2 Tbsp. (30 ml) extra virgin olive oil

1 Tbsp. (15 ml) fresh thyme leaves or 1 tsp. (5 ml) dried crushed thyme leaves

1/2 tsp. (2 ml) coarsely ground pepper

1/4 tsp. (1 ml) coarse sea salt or kosher salt

8 whole springs fresh thyme, optional

Scrub potatoes, paring out any imperfections. Dry well; place in shallow baking dish just large enough to hold them in single layer.

Sprinkle oil, thyme, pepper and salt over potatoes; toss to coat potatoes. Rearrange in single layer. Tuck thyme sprigs, if using, among potatoes.

Roast in centre of 375F. (190C.) oven until potatoes are fork tender with crispy places, 45 minutes.

Makes 5 to 6 servings.

VARIATION:

- Herb and Tomato Roasted Potatoes: Add 1 cup (250 ml) cherry or grape tomatoes to potatoes before tossing with oil.

SCALLOPED POTATOES

Fall and scalloped potatoes are an old-fashioned combination and one not often found in dining-out or fast food locations. Add some grated cheese and a half of diced sweet red pepper into the sauce to change the side dish to a vegetarian main. Stir in some diced ham and it's a 'welcome home cold weather' supper.

Sauce:

3 Tbsp. (45 ml) butter

3 Tbsp. (45 ml) all-purpose flour

1-1/2 tsp. (7 ml) salt

1/2 tsp. (2 ml) freshly ground pepper

2-1/2 cups (625 ml) milk

6 medium potatoes, about 2 lb. (1 kg)

1 small onion or regular shallot, finely diced

Sauce: In medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in flour, salt and pepper; cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

Gradually stir in milk. Bring to boil, stirring or whisking, until sauce thickens and smooths, about 5 minutes. Set aside.

Peel and slice potatoes thinly; arrange one-third each of the potatoes and onion in buttered 8-inch (2 L) square baking dish or 8 cup (2 L) casserole. Cover with one-third of the sauce. Repeat potato/onion layer, sauce, potato/onion layer and sauce. Smooth surface; cover dish with lid or foil.

Bake in centre of 350F (180C) for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake until potatoes are tender, sauce bubbling and top is golden, about 30 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.


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