THE potato is one of the world’s favourite foods, beloved for its versatility and adaptability for all types of dishes and snacks.
The potato can be cooked in a variety of ways, fried, baked, boiled, steamed, roasted, microwaved or sauteed; they can be used in soups, salads, main courses, breads, side dishes and even desserts. Potatoes are found in the recipes of most cuisines including African, American, British, Russian, Indian, Spanish, Portuguese, Eastern European and Scandinavian.
As a result of years of cultivation, there are now well over 5000 varieties of potatoes including Russet, Red Pontiac, Yukon Gold, Kennebec, Purple Majesty, Fingerling, Sweet and King Edward to name just a few.
They also have different characteristics and cooking recommendations. Starchy potatoes such as Russet and Goldrush don’t hold their shape when cooked, so are best for baked potatoes, fries and fluffy mashed potatoes, while Pontiac and Russian Banana potatoes are deemed waxy and hold their shape when cooked, so good for boiling or when making potato salads or for use in stews and curries.
With all this in mind, it’s no wonder that this humble little tuber should have a day all to itself to celebrate and this year International Potato Day falls on Saturday, August 19. So get your friends and family around for brunch, lunch or dinner and whip up a few potato treats for them to mark the occasion.
The chefs at Capsicum Culinary Studio – South Africa’s biggest culinary school with six campuses across the country – have shared their favourite recipes.
SPANISH FRITTATA WITH A HERBY YOGHURT AND GREENS
- 2 cups coarsely chopped cooked potatoes
- 1 cup plain full-fat yoghurt
- ¼ cup finely chopped herbs, such as dill, mint, basil, parsley, and chives
- 2 garlic cloves, mashed
- 1½ teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 8 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 shallots, thinly sliced
- 2 cups coarsely chopped greens, such as chard, kale or spinach
- Preheat oven to 180°C.
- Mix yoghurt, herbs, garlic, lemon juice, and ½ teaspoon salt in a small bowl.
- Lightly whisk eggs and ½ teaspoon salt in a medium bowl.
- Add ½ cup of the yoghurt sauce and stir lightly (but don’t completely incorporate yogurt sauce).
- Heat oil in an oven-safe nonstick pan over medium heat, then add the shallots and potatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallots have softened and the potatoes are golden, about 3 minutes.
- Add greens and cook, stirring occasionally until wilted.
- Add egg mixture and cook, shaking pan occasionally, until sides are just beginning to set, 5–7 minutes.
- Transfer pan to the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until set.
- Immediately slide onto a cutting board to cool then cut into wedges and serve with remaining yoghurt sauce.
- 4 potatoes (Russet is a good choice)
- ½ medium onion
- 2 eggs
- ⅓ cup chopped chives
- ⅓ cup chopped dill
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
- Oil for frying
- Peel the potatoes and onion.
- With a box grater, finely grate the potatoes first before coarsely grating the onion.
- Wrap both together in a clean cloth and squeeze out excess liquid then place in a bowl.
- Add the eggs, herbs, flour, salt and pepper and mix well.
- Heat oil in a large, non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat.
- Add a spoonful of the potato mixture, spreading it slightly and fry for about 2-3 minutes on each side or until the pancakes are crispy and golden brown.
- Serve warm with a fried egg on top and crispy bacon on the side for the ultimate brunch.
BAKED EGGS WITH POTATOES
- 2 large pre-boiled potatoes, cubed
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 4 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 4 eggs
- 120g goat’s cheese, crumbled
- 1 small bunch coriander, chopped
- Sprinkle of chilli flakes (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 200°C.
- Heat the oil in a small frying pan and fry the onions, garlic and cumin over a low heat until the onions are soft.
- Add the pre-boiled potatoes and turn the heat up, mixing to incorporate.
- Add the tomatoes, season well and cook for a further 5 minutes, stirring occasionally (add a splash of water if the mixture is drying up and sticking).
- Using a wooden spoon make 4 shallow wells in the mix and break the eggs into them.
- Place the pan in the oven and bake until the white of the eggs are cooked and the yolk still looks a little runny (for about 5-10 minutes).
- Sprinkle with the goat’s cheese, coriander and chilli flakes (if using) and serve with slices of toasted, buttered ciabatta.
CHEESY POTATO CROQUETTES
- 800g potatoes, peeled and boiled
- 1 spring onion, chopped
- 30g salted butter
- 2 tbsp milk
- 250g cheddar cheese
- 30g parmesan cheese
- 80g all-purpose flour
- Salt and pepper
- 300g all-purpose flour
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 500g bread crumbs
- Vegetable oil
- Peel and boil potatoes till soft and set aside to cool.
- Sauté onions and season with salt and pepper.
- Add milk, cheese, onion and flour to the mashed potatoes and combine well.
- Chill for 30 minutes and then shape into 5cm round balls.
- Roll in flour, dip in the beaten egg and then roll in the breadcrumbs.
- Once complete, place them in the fridge for at least two hours.
- Remove from fridge and deep-fry each croquette until brown on all sides.
- Serve with aioli or a spicy made with mayonnaise and sriracha sauce.