“When I think of potatoes, I think of June and early July’s new baby potatoes, simply steamed or boiled in a little salted water, served with good-quality butter and a sprinkle of salt. The potato really is a star in itself,” says Derek Flynn, group executive chef for the Bonnington Hotel and McGettigan’s bars. As an Irishman, he’s more than happy to acknowledge a love for the potato shared by many of his compatriots.
The spud might cause concern to carb watches, but what’s not to love? They’re rich in vitamin C and B6, they’re cheap and they’re the ultimate comfort food. In fact, their genus solanaceae comes from the Latin solari – “to soothe”. Mashed potato is the reason many people fail at adopting a fully low-carb diet.
Not that’s there’s just one type, of course. There are a whopping 5,000-plus varieties out there, all falling into three categories: starchy, waxy, and all-purpose. So choose carefully. “Starchy potatoes, such as the classic Idaho, are high in starch and low in moisture. As they get fluffy, they’re perfect for boiling, baking and frying, but since they lose shape easily, they’re not ideal for casseroles, stews or potato salads,” Cesar explains.
“Waxy potatoes, like Red Bliss, have a low starch content and are often creamy, firm and moist. They’re for roasting, boiling, casseroles and stews. All-purpose potatoes, like Yukon Gold, fall somewhere in-between starchy and waxy, so they’re pretty flexible for a range of dishes.”
Does origin matter? Not really. “We do import our potatoes from Ireland when they’re available,” says Derek Flynn. “But to be honest potatoes grow well wherever there is good clay and rainfall.”
Three dishes to try:
When it comes to taste and texture, little tops a seafood pie, as it’s light and creamy and topped with perfectly golden buttery saffron mash and a side of garden peas.
Where: McGettigan’s Pubs
Contact: +9712 652 4333
Salpicón de pulpo
In addition to their classic patatas bravas, another tapas dish with potatoes is this dish of cold octopus, crushed egg and a mixture of fresh vegetables with potato salad.
Where: Casa De Tapas
Contact: +9714 416 1800
This dish is served with a truffle mash made with cream, butter, milk and truffle. Check out their “Wellington Wednesdays” special devoted to this dish.
Where: Bread Street Kitchen & Bar at Atlantis, The Palm
Contact: +9714 426 2626
- The Incas, the first to cultivate potatoes, measured time by how long it took for potatoes to cook.
- Thomas Jefferson is said to have introduced French fries to the US when he served them in the White House in the early 1800s.
- In 1995, NASA-developed technology that allowed the potato to be the first veggie to be grown in space when seeds were germinated on the space-shuttle Columbia.
- The United Nations called the potato crop “a hidden treasure” and declared 2008 the International Year of the Potato to raise its profile among developing nations.
- Despite the name, the sweet potato is only a distant relation