St Patrick's Day: Your Ultimate Potato Guide
St Patrick’s Day generally brings on a worldwide epidemic of Guinness drinking in green suits and ginger wigs. We want to spend it celebrating the most Irish of ingredients - the humble potato. The staple of every larder, capable of being the star of any dinner or the understudy that never disappoints. But with as many as 500 different types of potato grown around the world, how do you know what’s best for creamy mash or perfect, crispy roasties? As a nod to Ireland’s patron saint, Tabl has searched from Edony to Ivory Russet to find your spud for every occasion.
Best for roast: King Edward
Sliding towards the flourier end of the scale, the King Edward’s fluffy texture makes it perfect when cooked in hot fat and served alongside your Sunday roast. A firm favourite in the UK since it was first introduced in 1902, the year of King Edward VII’s coronation, but was the king named after the potato or vice-versa? We’ll never know. This variety would also be perfect for Ali’s Dauphinoise recipe.
Best for mash: Desiree
Not just a 90s pop singer, but one of the more distinctive widely available spuds. Red skinned with a light yellow flesh, they are incredibly versatile, straddling the waxy/floury divide like a starchy Colossus. Their creamy texture makes them ideal for beautiful buttery mash - and as it’s St Patrick’s Day, why not load it up with cream, butter and spring onions for champ or substitute bacon and savoy cabbage for a big bowl of colcannon.
Best for chips: Maris Piper
No guide to cooking potatoes is complete without chips (or fries, or weirdly ‘hot chips’ in Australia), the ultimate bedfellow for fish, burgers and butties. There are a number of floury varieties that produce crispy, fluffy chips, but my favourite is the Maris Piper. It’s slightly sweet taste gives it the edge for me, but the most important tip for chips is the cooking. My method is blanching in oil at 160° for 5 minutes, draining, leaving to cool, until free of steam, then plunged into 190° oil for another 90 seconds until crisp, then tossed in rosemary salt.
Best for salads: Jersey Royal
One of the most exciting signs of Spring is shops beginning to stock the king of the waxy world - the Jersey Royal. Its Protected Destination of Origin status, like Champagne or Melton Mowbray Pork Pies, means the variety can only be grown on Jersey. The sweet, nutty taste is best enjoyed as part of a summery salad or simply dressed in butter and herbs
Best for baking: Vivaldi
Unlike its Italian namesake, this potato is not a celebrated Baroque composer, but don’t hold that against it, it’s just a vegetable. Well known for its rich, buttery taste, it’s perfect for the ultimate lazy comfort food. Salt and olive oil the skin, prick with a fork and in an hour to 90 minutes, there’s a ready buttered baked potato waiting for your topping of choice.
Best for dessert: Sweet Potato
There was really only contender for this accolade, the clue’s kind of in the name. I am slightly cheating here as the sweet potato dessert doesn’t necessarily scream St Patrick’s Day, but once you’ve tasted Tabl favourite Chintal Patel’s gluten and dairy free Sweet Potato pie, all should be forgiven.
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