In the Andes over 8000 years ago the potato was discovered. It was a long time before it reached Europe in the 16th Century. But potato cooking since then has become a world wide activity.
Today there are numerous kinds to choose and you will find that different ones will suit particular cooking methods and recipes. The new potato and round red ones are ideal for boiling. They will hold their shape well. If you wish to serve them mashed then baking or russets will work well. Choose long whites for baked or fried potatoes.
If you want to have them mashed, cook them in milk rather than water. Adding garlic to the cooking process will make the taste more interesting. For a lighter mixture, use skimmed milk instead of full fat milk and leave out any butter you had thought of mixing in afterwards. Do not be tempted to mash them too much as they can become too starchy. Herbs, salt and pepper, roasted garlic or grated cheese can be included as you do your final mix.
It is easy to oven roast them. After chopping them into halves or perhaps quarters, mix in olive oil. To ensure they will brown evenly keep turning them whilst they are cooking.
Frying them is another choice for this versatile vegetable. First they need to be cut and soaked for half an hour. Dry thoroughly before placing in a frying pan. After they are cooked they should be drained on kitchen paper to remove any excess and unwanted fat. You can fry them for a second time if you want a crisper finish.
A simple method is to bake them in their skins, although a longer cooking time is needed. There are lots of different fillings like tuna and sweetcorn, grated cheese or coleslaw. They are colorful and provide a satisfying meal.
If you want to make a Lyonnaise dish you will need to slice cooked potatoes, add sliced onions, butter and herbs of your choice. It makes a tasty meal. You will find it filling, too. Another tasty meal using red ones is potato au gratin. It has grated cheese as a topping. Alternatively, you can make a casserole supper meal. Cooked potatoes have to be diced. Add cottage cheese and combine with sour cream, cheese and garlic. The ingredients will be easy to buy.
New ones can be served hot or cold so cooking too many will not be a waste. Cold potatoes are ideal with a salad. You can toss them in a dressing of olive oil, mustard and lemon juice to flavor them. These easy tips and ideas make potato cooking a pleasure and certainly not a chore!