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.
Mashed ones are very versatile. For a richer flavor they can be cooked in milk rather than water. Garlic cloves added to the cooking liquid enhance the flavor, too. If you wish to achieve a lighter texture then use skimmed milk instead of full fat milk and resist adding butter afterwards. Avoid mashing too much as the mixture will become sticky and stodgy. You can add a variety of herbs, salt, pepper, grated cheese or roasted garlic to your mixture.
Roasting them in the oven is simple. Chop them into halves or quarters and toss in olive oil. You will need to turn them to make sure they brown evenly.
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.
Baking in their skins in the oven will take longer. However, this method will allow you to choose from a variety of fillings and provide a satisfying meal. Coleslaw, tuna and sweetcorn or grated cheese are easy to prepare and add color, too.
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!