I am not a fan of complicated or processed foods. I like simple and delicious food prepared with love, care and a good mind. You can taste the love that goes into the food. How and where your food was grown, raised, and treated will have a direct impact on the quality of food that arrives at your table. Potatoes, in my opinion, are a food that is often treated as an afterthought, a mere side dish and not necessarily the star of a meal.
Potatoes can be broken down into two distinct types: waxy (like Red-skinned potatoes) and starchy (like Russet potatoes). Waxy hold their shape well when cooked, have a high sugar and low starch content. Starchy Potatoes are high in starch, low in sugar and are light and fluffy when cooked. It is important to note that changes within varieties do happen throughout the growing season. Understanding the different varieties will help you achieve the results you are looking for in the kitchen.
In a restaurant setting, the quality of a potato preparation is a good indicator of the cook’s mindfulness and or food knowledge. Just because a restaurant makes their fries fresh doesn’t necessarily mean they are of good quality – poorly prepared fresh cut fries are no better than frozen. Proper vegetable cookery should not be an afterthought.
Specifically for fries made with waxy potatoes, they will caramelize quickly due to their high sugar content making them look “well done” but will actually be soggy. Whereas when you cook potatoes with less sugar and higher starch you will end up with crispy golden fries that are soft and fluffy on the inside.
My favourite potato to cook is the yellow-fleshed Yukon Gold. It offers the best of both starchy and waxy potatoes even within seasonal variations. Yukon Gold potatoes hold up well to moist heat and dry heat cooking methods and are most importantly, delicious.
- Yukon Gold potatoes (experiment with different types to see what you like, some prefer starchy potatoes)
- Fresh ground pepper
- Cooking Oil
- Wash and cut potatoes in shape of your liking (keep them all the same size)
- Bring to the boil in a pot with salted water and cook until 1/2 done, until a knife can just pierce the potato (5 – 10 minutes), drain and pat dry
- Preheat oven to 400F, and place baking tray in your oven to heat up.
- Evenly coat potatoes in cooking oil, salt, pepper and place on preheated baking sheet with a sprig of rosemary, do not crowd the pan.
Turn potatoes every 15-20 minutes and cook until desired doneness.