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Choosing The Perfect Potato

It really does make a difference, the type of potato you choose when you cook. Photo courtesy of The Art of Catering.

Choosing The Perfect Potato

By Chef Selwyn Richards
Culinary Specialist

Chef Selwyn RichardsDo you know the perfect variety of potato to use for making mashed potatoes? What about the right one for baked? Does it make a difference which type of potato you use, when preparing a specific recipe or are all potatoes created equally?

You may be surprised to find out that it really DOES make a difference in what type of potato you choose when you cook. Using the right potato for the recipe can result in a dish that is comforting and delicious. The wrong type of potato, however, may result in a dish that is edible, but definitely not as good as you know it can be, or it could turn out all wrong and not enjoyable at all.

Which type of potato do you use when choosing different methods of cooking? Below are some hints to help you choose the perfect potato for the dish you are preparing.

Mashed potatoes have been a comfort food for hundreds of years
Choosing the right potato will result in smooth, creamy potatoes, with just the right amount of lumps. For mashed potatoes, the best type of potato to choose is one that is waxy. Yukon gold, white rose and red rose potatoes are your best bet when making mashed potatoes, because they aren’t as starchy as other potatoes. Stay away from russet or Idaho potatoes, as they are too starchy and result in mashed potatoes that are mealy, rather than smooth.

Potato salad is another dish that people find comfort in
Because the potatoes will have to be boiled, you’ll want to use the same variety of potato, as you would, when making mashed potatoes. Choose a variety that is less starchy and your potato salad will turn out perfect every time.

Photo courtesy of The Art of Catering.

Photo courtesy of The Art of Catering.

Baked potatoes will have a crisp outside and white fluffy goodness on the inside
Unlike mashed potatoes or potato salad, when baking potatoes, you want one that is starchy and will result in a fluffy inside. The russet potato is the perfect choice for this application.

French fries are one of the most common ways people eat potatoes

Photo courtesy of The Art of Catering.

Photo courtesy of The Art of Catering.

You’ll want to choose a high starch potato, like a russet or Idaho, for making homemade French fries. Or, if you can’t make the perfect fry at home, they can be found at most fast-food restaurants.

As you can see, not all potatoes will produce the same texture when cooked. If you’re a potato lover and you want your dishes to come out perfect, the extra time and effort you spend selecting the right potatoes can make all the difference in the world.

Selwyn Richards is an award-winning master chef. He is also the President and Executive Chef at The Art of Catering Inc. and is the author of “The Art of Cooking: Soul of The Caribbean”. Chef Selwyn can be reached at: selwyn@theartofcatering.com or by phone — (905) 619-1059.

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