7 recipes that celebrate the humble potato

7 recipes that celebrate the humble potato

The potato is a staple on just about every table the whole world over. And it’s not hard to see why: The so-called humble ingredient is inexpensive, endlessly versatile, and keeps well. Potatoes’ savory goodness make them supremely satisfying, especially on cold winter nights. They’re convenient too, because you don’t need many other ingredients to make the tuber sing, and one-pot recipes abound.

But above all else, the potato — in all its many colors, varieties, and sizes — is reliable. If you’ve got any type in your larder, you’re already halfway to dinner.

To celebrate this fact, we’re highlighting some of our favorite ways to prepare different potato varieties right now, from go-with-anything sides to dishes that can either play supporting or starring roles on your dinner table, like red potato and leek chowder or gnocchi with paprika brown butter. While remaining (relatively) simple, each dish is a little more unexpected than your typical mash or French fry. (Though, we’re big fans of those too.)

(Courtesy Food52)

Petite potatoes

1. Potatoes à la Lyonnaise

(Rocky Luten/Courtesy Food52)

Mimi Thorrison refers to this dish as the “little black dress” of side dishes, and we can’t fault her reasoning: It’s elegant, reliable, and works for just about any occasion. Bite-size petite potatoes parboil quickly, making the rest of this recipe relatively simple. Just fry in butter, combine with caramelized onions, and then crisp everything up slightly in the oven. While the classic version calls for peeled potatoes, we think they’re just as tasty (and even easier to prepare) with the skins on.

Russets

2. Gnocchi with smoked paprika, brown butter, and pecans

(Rocky Luten/Courtesy Food52)

Gnocchi might sound like a project recipe, but believe it or not, this dish only calls for a few ingredients you probably already have on hand, and if you start with leftover baked potatoes from the night before, you’re well on your way. Russet potatoes’ dry, starchy texture and low moisture content provide the necessary lift to make gnocchi light and fluffy rather than dense and leaden. It also helps if you buy your russets a few days in advance and let them sit at room temperature to allow any extra moisture to naturally evaporate … or just happen to have some russets in your cupboard waiting to become something delicious.

Purple potatoes

3. Warm purple potato salad with green beans, radish, and fennel

(Rocky Luten/Courtesy Food52)

Purple potatoes are great for adding a pop of vibrant color to any dish. Here, jewel-like purples mingle with fuschia radishes and emerald green beans for a salad as pretty as it is toothsome; the luscious, warm potatoes and bright, citrusy vinaigrette temper the radishes’ peppery bite while the beans and fennel provide a sweet, earthy crunch. The contrasting colors and textures make this salad a pleasing complement to a weekend brunch or simple weeknight supper, especially served alongside salmon or a flaky white fish. Depending on what’s available at your market, feel free to swap in asparagus or snap peas for the green beans.

Red potatoes

4. Red potato and leek chowder with bacon

(Rocky Luten/Courtesy Food52)

With waxy white flesh, ruby skins, and a slightly sweet flavor, red potatoes impart a subtle earthiness to this one-pot winter chowder while retaining their shape and smooth texture. Depending on your preferences, thawed frozen peas or corn can be added at the end of cooking for an extra pop of color and flavor. This dish works great on its own or as a side or first course alongside roasted chicken or gussied-up grilled cheeses.

Yellow potatoes

5. Crisp-smashed yellow potatoes with sour cream and vinegar dill sauce

(Rocky Luten/Courtesy Food52)

The firm, satiny flesh and thin, papery skin of yellow potatoes makes them a perfect choice for boiling until just tender, then lightly smashing and frying. The technique creates a crispy canvas of nooks and crannies that’s perfect for dipping in a saucy take on two of our favorite potato chip flavors: Salt & Vinegar plus Sour Cream & Dill. Serve this dish as a side for simple pan-seared steaks or brick chicken, or on their own as an appetizer or game day snack.

White potatoes

6. White potato and cheddar gratin

(Rocky Luten/Courtesy Food52)

Mildly starchy and firm-fleshed white potatoes provide a great canvas for the sharp bite of aged cheddar and garlicky chives, resulting in a creamy, comforting gratin. Pro tip: Cooking the potatoes and cream on the stovetop before baking allows the potatoes’ natural starch to thicken the sauce and reduce the oven time. Using an oven-proof skillet (such as cast-iron) for both stovetop and baking makes this a one-pot dish.

Fingerlings

7. Butter-braised fingerlings

(Rocky Luten/Courtesy Food52)

Fingerlings are ideal for this recipe because they cook more quickly than many other types, take on other flavors nicely, and only need a quick scrub before they’re ready to go. That said, the technique is easy and versatile enough to borrow for whatever you have on hand; simply cook in butter on a stovetop, then brighten up with lots of lemon, lightly fried garlic, and fresh herbs.

This story was originally published on Food52.com: 7 potato recipes you need in your repertoire.

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