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Red Potatoes, 5 Ways

Fine Cooking Issue 70
Photo: Scott Phillips
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Red potatoes are perhaps the only vegetable I would be content to cook and eat every night of the week. They’re incredibly versatile, suited to just about any preparation. Their rich, earthy flavor can be satisfying by itself, but it also welcomes an amazing array of flavors. There’s really no limit to what you can do with red potatoes, yet it’s easy to always fall back on the same basic recipes. A few gutsy ingredient choices and maybe a change in how you cut the potatoes are all it takes to enliven your repertoire. I’ve gotten the ball rolling for you with the following five simple and fresh-tasting recipes.

Good for roasting, pan-frying, and smashing

High in moisture and low in starch, red potatoes hold their shape well when cooked. That makes them a good candidate for roasting and skillet cooking. They also absorb liquids well, which is why I sometimes add a dash of vinegar or lemon juice to the potatoes to infuse them with extra flavor notes.

Choose the right size potato for the job. The smallest of the red potatoes, called creamer potatoes, are about the size of golf balls or even smaller. They’re usually sold in small bags and may be labeled as new potatoes.I like these little potatoes, but they can be pricey so I save them for recipes where their size really matters, such as Gratinéed Red Potatoes with Chives or the Roasted Potatoes with Onions & Thyme. Medium and large red potatoes are often of the variety known as Red Bliss. They’re the size of baseballs or tennis balls. I use these larger sizes interchangeably, especially in dishes where the potatoes are sliced, such as in gratins, or broken up, as in smashed potatoes.

No peeling necessary. An advantage that red potatoes have over other varieties is that their skins are thin and tender and don’t require peeling, even in gratins and mashed potato recipes. The skins add color, nutrients, fiber, and much of the potatoes’ earthy flavor. And then there’s the time-saving factor of not having to peel a half dozen or so potatoes. Need I say more?


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