A leading Australian food writer has divulged his closely guarded secrets for cooking potatoes to perfection every time.
Richard Cornish recently fielded questions from foodies who asked how they could make a fluffy mash, create golden roast spuds or wow with a stunning potato salad.
Writing for Good Food, the culinary expert shared his insider knowledge on the humble spuds including the best methods as well as the types of potatoes needed for each dish.
The best way to make fluffy, lump-free mash
Making perfect mash is a matter of keeping the vegetable away from a food processor or blender and instead using a potato ricer or rotary handmill
What is the best way to cook potatoes for mash?
* Cover potatoes in cold water then simmer gently, don’t boil them vigorously.
* When soft, drain and leave on low heat to allow the steam to evaporate.
* Warm the butter in milk with salt and add to the potatoes while still hot. Mash as gently and briefly as possible.
Source: Good Food
Blending potatoes using a food processor or hand-beater can turn cooked spuds into mush.
This is because when cooked and ‘mashed’ the vegetable can release a mix of starch and water – a gelatinous substance not unlike glue used for paper mache.
Richard said there are several steps to making fluffy mash which he’s gleaned from watching the best chefs at work.
One is to use a drum sieve (a kitchen utensil that’s larger than an ordinary sieve) to drain water after potatoes have boiled rather than a colander to ensure ‘minimal agitation’.
He said a potato ricer or rotary handmill such as a Moulinex are the perfect tools for creating a lump-free mash.
‘To this riced potato add your warm milk and butter and mix through,’ Richard said.
Potatoes that work well for a mash: Sebago (a great all-rounder) Nadine and Desiree.
The best way to roast potatoes to perfection
The trick to creating perfect roast potatoes is to partially cook the spuds first then bake for 50 minutes
What are the best potatoes to use when roasting?
* To get a crispy outside and creamy middle you’ll need a floury potato.
* In Australia, the best varieties are Dutch Cream, Desiree, Coliban or Sebag.
When it comes to making perfectly crispy roast spuds, there’s one method Richard swears by.
First, spuds are peeled and cut to ‘roughly the size of an egg’. Next, these are placed into a saucepan, covered with cold water and seasoned with salt.
After water comes to the boil, simmer the potatoes for 10 minutes then remove from heat and drain.
Next, put the potatoes back into the pot they were cooked in. There’s no need to rinse the pot.
Then add salt, pepper and fat (this can be from any source; a roasting chicken, lamb, olive oil or butter).
The spuds should be tossed in the pan until they’re coated in the seasoned paste then placed a roasting pan in the middle of the oven (heated to 220C).
Bake for 25 minutes, turn and then bake for a further 25 minutes.
The best way to make a perfect potato salad
The trick to making potato salad lies in not overcooking the spuds and adding dressing while the vegetable is still warm
The trick when making a potato salad is to ensure spuds are cooked enough, but not cooked past the point where they’ve lost firmness.
Richard advises a technique of cooking the vegetable in water no hotter than 60C and for no longer than 20 minutes.
‘Once cooked, dress the potatoes shortly before serving so they don’t absorb the dressing and soften,’ he said.
He also dished on whether or not using leftover potatoes was acceptable in a potato salad.
He said he’s learned from experience cold potatoes don’t absorb the dressing and that seasonings will ‘sit’ on potatoes rather than be absorbed.
The best potatoes for a potato salad are Dutch cream or Kipfler.