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post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
My folks in Greece seem to have the best potatoes. They're delicious no matter how you prepare them and seem to lend themselves to every way of cooking possible. I don't even know what kind of potatoes they are except that they seem like baking potatoes.

Here in the states I'm quite unlucky with them. I love the flavor of red skins in a roast but they seem to burn when used for frying. My favorite is the golden yukon because it is versatille but I would like to have some input.

Which kind of potatoes do you prefer for various dishes like:

French fries
Roasted potatoes
mashed potatoes

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."


"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."


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post #2 of 28
I use russets for everything. They are grown in the Red River valley here in MN and are cheap :lol: They are great baked and for fries, they also work fairly well in mashed potatoes.
post #3 of 28
Not sure my input is valid as i'm in the uk. But if you can get maris pipers they are ( in my opinion) the best floury spuds for baking, mash and chips. King Edwards and Desiree are my contingency plan. They will cover all your list but Hash browns. Never made them so ??
"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
post #4 of 28

French Fries - Russets - cook them 2 mins., remove from oil, cool down, put them back until golden and crispy.

Roasted - Red skins or Whites.

Mashed - Red skins, Whites, Yukons ( my personal favorite).

Gratins - Prefer Whites.

Hashbrowns - Russets.

Stew - Whites or Yukons.

Hope this helps,

post #5 of 28
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post #6 of 28
Other than memorizing other people's recommendations, perhaps the best way to understand potatoes in terms of their relative starch and moisture contents.

Dry starchy potatoes do some things better than low-starch, waxy potatoes. Medium potatoes can do just about everything, but there are things on the margins which they don't do well.

The dryest commonly available spud is the Russet aka the Idaho. They make the fluffiest mash, fry the crispiest skins with the most airy interiors, and are by far the best potato for what most people call gratin (that is, with cream or milk in it).

The waxiest potatoes are round whites, King Edwards, new and reds. These hold up well to stewing, and to the abuse a potato salad takes.

Some medium potatoes are fingerlings, purples and Yukon Golds.

You can roast any potato, choose according to your taste. There's no rule. Similarly, you can mash or puree any potato according to your taste. Different potatoes give slightly different results -- but none is "better" than any other. You allow for texture and taste and choose accordingly.

Fingerlings are probably most like the potatoes you had in Greece. After that, round white and new potatoes.

People like Yukon Gold because of their pleasant flavor and buttery color; and try to cram them into places they really don't belong. Gratins, e.g. If you use them in place of dry potatoes as for potato pancakes, you must do do something to manage their moisture. If you use them in a dish where you want them to hold their shape, you'll have to allow for their fragility.

post #7 of 28
I love Yukon Gold, but for the most part the only thing I do with them is mash 'em up. Usually small red potatoes where boiling for some sort of salad is involved, and use russets for everything else.

A comment on cooking terminology. Folks have been using the word 'roasted' potatoes, which I assume is what I mean by baked. You know, where you scrub off the dirt on a russet, rub with oil, sprinlke with salt and bake in the oven for an hour or so. The salt on the skin isn't necessary, I eat the skins so adding it before baking helps to season them. Some folks like to wrap them in foil before they go in the oven so they steam more than bake.

What I call roasted, or roasties, is taking the potato, cutting into a large dice. Pour some oil in a baking dish, just enough to coat the bottom of the dish, then another splash more. Toss in the chunks, stir a bit to get some oil on them, then stick into a hot oven ( 450F, 225 C, gas mark 8 ) for about 30 - 40 minutes. Start checking at about 25, they may be starting to get brown and crispy by then, depending on their moisture content. When they meet your definition of golden brown and delicious, pull out of the oven. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Carefully take a sturdy spatula and free the stuck ones from the pan and distribute the seasonings. Some chile powder or paprika added at this point is also a nice touch.

Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
post #8 of 28
Thread Starter 
I'm not sure fingerling potatoes would describe the ones I've had in Greece. The Greek ones are massive, often much bigger than extra large russets. But I will use some fingerlings and try them as they might match in taste.

Roasted potatoes are something we greeks take very seriously. We cut them in different aways according to preference. I peel them and quarter them usually, and toss them with olive oil, butter, salt, pepper, oregano or thyme, the juice of 2 or 3 lemons, and throw in some garlic why not. They're usually roasted in pan juice from the roast beast (you can't believe what a tasty potato lamb juice makes).

I guess my problem is that sometimes I get a tasty potato and other times I don't. What should I look for when I buy potatoes to make sure they are ripe?

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."


"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

post #9 of 28
I thought potatoes were ready to use from the moment of conception. I only avoid greenish ones.
post #10 of 28
Hi Mapiva ....

Back a few months there was a discussion about the quality of potatoes, specifically Russet potatoes. I noticed that a couple of Russets that I bought were pretty bad - insipid was the word used to describe them. You may find the discussion of some value, certainly the first few posts where the topic stayed on potatoes. The discussion may answer some of your questions about why the potatoes in Greece are more consistantly better tasting than US potatoes, especially the Russet types.

When I have some more time, I'll dig up some more information about potatoes that may address some of your concerns. Right now I've gotta deal with some broccoli that's behaving badly :lol:
post #11 of 28
...on the subject of potatoes

When reading some of the posts in the gnocchi thread I got to wondering about the problems I have making a good baked potato (with russet). I'm not talking about taste...but texture.

Perhaps you guys and gals know the secret to getting a consistent baked potato with an evenly cooked center that's nice and fluffy. While my potatoes turn out cooked through I've always been missing that extra fluffy interior that I've only had a few times.

During the summer months I try to get my potatoes from local farm stands which really helps with the potatoes taste (Vs a grocery store potato). When cooking them I prefer to do my baked potato in the oven rather than the microwave. Nothing against someone who can cook a baked potato in there, but I cannot.

Back to the texture thing. So I got to thinking, I'm not much of a brine person when it comes to meats. I wonder if brining could help a baked russet potato. So I gave it a try and the interior actually turned out quite nice! Now I've only done this one time so I can't really conclude any results. I try it again and see what the results are.

Has anyone got any tips on getting a nice delicate and fluffy interior?

post #12 of 28
So, what's your technique? How long do you bake them? At what temperature? Do you use an oven thermometer? Upper, middle, or lower rack? How do you prepare the spuds? How old are they? What was different when you had a fluffy interior?
post #13 of 28
Go to the hardware store and buy some 20 penny nails -- preferably "duplex" or "scaffold" nails. If you can't get those, get 20 penny commons. Box nails are too skinny. It's too obvious to say, but don't buy "coated" or "decking" nails either.

Spike your spuds, right along the long axis before baking. They'll not only bake better, they'll bake faster. When you're done, wash and oil the nails before storing.

post #14 of 28
My experience of potatoes is completely hit or miss. I used to buy them at the market, and the only criterion the sellers could tell me was "these are good for gnocchi". I assume that means floury, starchy potatoes. One guy who sold only potatoes and onions and dried beans said that old potatoes are floury and good for mashing, frying and gnocchi. You don;t want to use new potatoes for that because they make sticky mash and awful gnocchi. Is that true? I've made mashed potatoes with thin-skinned clearly new potatoes and they were fine, but i have had the sticky kind and the mash they made had to be thrown out.

I found that apart from some specialized sellers (not in every market) everyone would tell you what they thought you wanted to hear ("What do you need them for?" "frying" "Oh, yes, perfect" - no matter what you ask they'd say it was perfect. I started asking "what are they good for" and getting more vague answers. My conclusion was that they really didn;t know). The supermarkets are usually no better. There is a kind they call "with selenium" - my meager knowledge of chemistry makes them sound like they're injected with some radioactive substance, but they say on the package that there is selenium in the soil that gives them more flavor. But what they're good for is not clear. Otherwise they just say "potatoes" rather generically.

The types of potatoes available here may be quite different from in the states, and in any case, rarely are called anything but "potatoes" - they now have smallish red-skinned ones that tend to be long and thin, and very large, long but fatter ones, and otehrs that seem to be all sizes mixed together.

How can i tell what is a waxy potato and a floury potato by looking at them, or at the extreme, cutting them, feeling them or other empirical means?
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
post #15 of 28
Thread Starter 
What a discussion. Seems most people are confused about something or another. Thanks Shel, interesting past thread.

I've never given much thought to buying organic potatoes. I do shell out the extra cash for certain items like dairy, eggs, leafy greens, but tend to buy generic onions, garlic, and potatoes. It's very difficult to triple your grocery bill all at once you know. But I'm sick of having flavorless potatoes and may just dive into getting them from the farmer's market. There are so many wonderful and different types there, everything from pink potatoes to purple peruvian ones, it goes on and on.

My favorite part about the Greek potatoes is that they don't blacken when they're peeled. My potatoes here turn gray like apples once peeled but the ones in greece can be peeled hours before using.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."


"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

post #16 of 28
How much money do you spend on potatoes? I don't buy many, so price isn't much of a consideration, but as it happens the good, organic, flavorful spuds aren't much more than the insipid variety here. Last I checked they were only about 50-cents a pound more. Plus, I don't want to eat chemical-laden food, and taters are right up there amongst the worst from everything I've read. Environmental Working Group ||
post #17 of 28
The potatoes I use for baking are russets. At home I try to use some that are a little older, but at work we turn our potatoes over too often. They're all fairly fresh from the store at work.

I'll preheat the oven to any where from 350ff to 400f, depending on how much time I have. I'll poke several holes in each potato with a fork or a meat thermometer. Sometimes I'll rub the potato with olive oil and salt or season the outside. I place the potato on the middle rack, either directly on the rack or on a rack that's inside of a cookie sheet. Then I cook until 200f.

When the interior was extra fluffy I was at work and would only be guessing that the potatoes were young, or recently bought. The only known difference that I did was to soak them in a brine solution for one hour before baking, then followed the usually procedure. I'll have to try this again and see if it has merit or if there was some other influence that may have been involved.

post #18 of 28
What about fried potato cakes? That's something I loved in India, with a spicy tamarind sauce. I've only attempted to make them a couple of times. I made them by boiling russets, mashing, shaping and frying in soybean oil or whatever. They didn't come out that great. I'd like to know how to make good ones.
post #19 of 28
I make a fried potato cake by mashing the potato, adding egg(1 egg to 2 or so mashed potatoes. You don't want it to runny), some caramelized onion, mix well then fry by dropping a scoop into oil and flattening it. S&P as always, roasted garlic works well in these or you can add any kind of cooked veggie. This is my favorite recipe to use up leftover mashed potato. An alternative to frying these is to scoop into buttered muffin pans, top with lots of cheddar and bake until nice and brown.
post #20 of 28
If you mean aloo tikki, as always the "secret" is controlling the moisture. Aloo tikki does it with bread crumbs. I wrote this recipe using peas only, but you can add any vegetables you feel like adding. The recipe may be halved or doubled proportionately. It makes a good first course, party app, or add a green salad and they make a fine lunch.

(8 large, 12 medium, or 24 bite-size)
6 medium russets
1 large onion (white or yellow), or 2 medium
3 tbs oil or ghee
1 tsp garam masala
1 cup frozen peas
1 or 2 whole serrano chillies
1 tsp amchur (if you can find it)
1/4 cup rough chopped, fresh cilantro
3/4 cup bread crumbs
Oil for deep or pan frying

Peel the russets, cut them into six or eight pieces each. Put them in a pan with cold, salted water to cover, bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until fork tender (about 10 minutes). Drain them in a colander or strainer, and hold them there to cool more or less completely.

While the potatoes are cooling, cut the onion into medium or fine dice, as you like. Mince the serrano(s). Saute the onion in the oil or ghee over medium-high heat until it begins to brown. Add the serrano and the garam masala, cook for a couple of minutes more. Reduce the heat to low, stir in the peas; and when the peas are just warmed through, remove the pan from heat. Add the amchur (if using) and the chopped cilantro. Stir to combine evenly and set aside.

Rice or mash the potatoes. Fold in the crumbs, then the vegetable mixture; working the potatoes as little as possible to get an even combination (overworking will make them dense and heavy). Portion the mixture. Form into patties or cakes of any size you like; or in bite-sized balls. Pan or deep fry until crisp and GBD on the outside. Drain on paper towels.

Serve with cilantro/mint or mango chutney, and/or tamarind sauce.

post #21 of 28
Thanks, MaryB and BDL :bounce: Yes, aloo tikki is what I was talking about. BDL, what do you mean by GBD and "wo den"?
post #22 of 28

It's a kitchen term for the color fried food gets when it's done. The initials stand for "golden brown and delicious."

post #23 of 28
OK I figured out the GB part but not the D.

At the "Picture Palace Cinema" in Mussoorie, India, there was a guy who made aloo tikki out front. He didn't have even a roof. He just had a stove (I forget what kind), a frying pan and some other utensils, and his aloo tikki ingredients in an ice chest, I think it was. Aloo tikki wasn't common around there. That stuff he made was **** good.

About a block away was a restaurant that made aloo paratha, flatbread with a potato filling, that was another of my favorites.

I could go on about all the different food spots, but I won't. Ok maybe I will, where potatoes are involved. There was another place just called "South Indian Restaurant" that made dosas, big rice pancakes that were fried on a grill and not flipped. They were crispy on one side, soft on the other side, and about 14" diameter, and served as a tube with the crispy side out. They were served with 3 chutneys--one coconut-based, one cilantro-based and one dal-based. Sada dosa meant a plain dosa with no filling. Masala dosa had a filling of potatoes, with onions and spices. I loved those masala dosas.

Then there were little tea shops in little villages where they made a potato salad that was like no other I've had. I have tried to find out how they made that, with no luck. It was diced boiled potatoes with spices, no mayo involved, and spicy hot. That stuff really hit the spot for a snack in the middle of a long trek.
post #24 of 28
I have asked the question on various Greek islands, including Cyprus which is a major grower of potatoes. Noone seemed to know, 'they're just potatoes' was the common answer.

Then I met a chef in Cyprus who had owned a couple of 'Greek' restaurants in North London, the second home of many Cypriots and he said he had found out that the potatoes that he used (delicious, by the way) were Nicola or Marfona for 'jacket' potatoes, and Spunta and Cara for all other dishes.

Nicola, Marfona and Cara are all available seasonally here in the UK.
post #25 of 28
Thread Starter 
Tikki sounds like bubble and squeak.

Ishbel I haven't heard of those potato names. I should get more acquainted with potatoes I think besides the eating part.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."


"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

post #26 of 28
Hi Mapiva,

These sites may be a good place to start. They are far from complete, but of the sites I've checked, they are amongst the best because of the pics and, even though incomplete, they have more varieties than the other sites I've seen.

Cook's Thesaurus: Potatoes
Potatoes at WSU - Potato Varieties: Descriptions and Resources

And here's an article about organic potatoes from Spudman magazine:
Variety of markets builds organic acreage in Idaho

Back when the Insipid Potato thread started, I looked into the types of russets that were available. There were more than 100. Now when someone mentions a russet, I'm tempted to ask which of the 187 varieties s/he's talking about :lol:
post #27 of 28
The Spud spike is a time honored way to speed-bake potatoes, especially large ones. However, I'd be leary of any ordinary hardware store nails. It's not just the coating that needs to be considered, or avoided. Nails are formulated quite often with all sorts of scrap and recycled metals in the mix. They are not intended for use in food preparaton, so there could be zinc, lead, nickle, and/or other toxins and impurities which could taint the food (maybe even give it an off taste). A healthy adult system might be able to handle these contaminants, but care should be taken with youngsters, or those with compromised immune systems.

I have had the best results with rubbing the potatoes with oil and seasonings, wrapping them in foil and baking them at a high oven temp (400 to 425) until they yield to gentle pressure. The skin will be done to that "chewy-almost crisp" stage, with a nicely brown under-skin. When I remove them from the oven, I wrap them in a clean towel for about 5 minutes, to allow them to rest. Then I take each potato, wrap it in a smaller clean cloth and roll it on the counter, pressing gently as I roll. When opened, the potato is evenly "crumbled" inside the still intact skin. It's now ready to receive whatever enhancement you have planned for it.

*Remember to pierce the skins, to prevent them from exploding during baking* :eek:
"The pressure's on...let's cook something!"
"The pressure's on...let's cook something!"
post #28 of 28
On the subject of roast potatoes...The Ultimate :-

Cut peeled floury potatoes large. (just halve the big ones and leave the wee ones whole.
Boil in over salted water til they are 1/2 cooked

Drain and dry over a flame. Tossing them in the pan with the lid on to break up the edges(These will become fabulously crisp in the oven later)

Meanwhile in a shallow baking tray melt either Beef dripping, Duck fat or goose fat and heat til smoking

Quickly add the spuds and turn them over to coat. Put in a really hot oven for 30 to 40 mins

Eat at least 1 before serving (mandatory)
"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
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