The humble potato originated in Peru and the extreme western portion of Bolivia. It is an essential crop in Europe (especially eastern and central Europe), where per capita production is still the highest in the world, but the most rapid expansion over the past few decades has occurred in southern and eastern Asia. China is now the world’s largest potato-producing country, and nearly a third of the world’s potatoes are harvested in China and India.
Floury, or mealy russet (baking) potatoes have more starch (20–22%) than waxy (boiling) potatoes (16–18%) and are better for baking or making french fries. The best varieties for potato salad are Yellow Finn, Yukon Gold, and red potatoes. Their high moisture content will give them a more pleasant texture when cold, and their waxier flesh holds up better to chopping and to tossing with dressing than drier, potatoes, like Russets. Fingerling potatoes are low in starch and tend to be good for potato salads as well as roasting.
In conclusion, before you make your next potato dish, give some thought to which potato will work best for the texture you are trying to achieve.
Potatoes Dauphinoise, a French Tradition
A creamy, nutty potato side dish elegant enough to impress the most discerning individual, yet rustic enough to serve any time.
Finely slice the potatoes using a mandoline and set aside in water until ready to use. Combine the cream, milk, nutmeg, garlic and a pinch of salt and pepper in a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Once boiling, remove from the heat and set aside. Strain the water off the potatoes and layer inside a small oven dish lined with parchment paper, sprinkling gruyere cheese between each layer and being sure to overlap each layer as you go. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Pour enough of the cream mixture over the potatoes to cover and bake in the oven for 45 minutes or until slightly golden on top and tender through the middle. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Weigh down with butter, cheese or any other heavy square object and set aside in the fridge to press for up to 12 hours. Reheat the potato dauphinoise in the oven set to 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Divide into portions and serve immediately as a side dish.
* Make this a day in advance and reheat for your party. For a variation, layer with cooked mushrooms and truffle cheese. © Galley Chef All Rights Reserved