Honestly, if anyone looked in my grocery cart and saw the 10-lb. bag of Idaho Potatoes, 3 lbs. of Red Skins and 2 packages of Fingerlings, they’d think I was shopping for a family of 6. And I’m single. Ok, so I happen to like potatoes. Is that a crime? Of course, when you’re buying that many potatoes, you have to have a plan (besides eating them). And I do. First, I peel and make about half of them into THE best mashed potatoes, and then I freeze them by the quart. Freeze? What? You’ve never tried that? It’s great. Just thaw, microwave and re-whip by hand. In just a few minutes, they’re as light and fluffy as the moment you first made them, which by the way is really handy since, as you know, potatoes don’t last forever on the shelf.
This trick lets me enjoy great homemade mashed potatoes whenever I’m in the mood, which is, as I mentioned, a lot. Anyway, I digress… I reserve most of the other half of my (formerly buried) treasures for other recipes I enjoy, such as my Potatoes Ya Ya (with Sweet Corn, Crisp Bacon & Cheese), or in other dishes that need potatoes, such as my Potato Pie with Shrimp, Scallops, Lobster and Crab.
Then, there are my Über Tuber recipes. Über (Super) Tuber (Potato) recipes are those special potato recipes that really bring the potato out of the shadow of a supporting cast role and let it take center stage. And they don’t have to be complicated recipes. In fact, many aren’t. In reality, like most ingredients, appreciating what potatoes are at their best means doing less but doing it well. For example:
Fresh Rosemary & Roasted Garlic Baby Fingerling Potatoes With White Truffle Oil
Makes about 4 servings This is an easy peasy one that’s deserving of a great steak or roasted meat. Toss 1 lb. of fingerling potatoes in 2 TBSP olive oil and 1 TBSP chopped fresh rosemary. Then add salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste. Roast at 375 F until tender (about 25 minutes). Remove from the oven. Then, while they’re hot, add 2 TBSP chopped, roasted garlic cloves (buy these pre-roasted cloves of garlic in Nino’s olive section) and 2 tsp of white truffle oil. Toss and serve.
Basil Pesto Stuffed Red Skin Potatoes With Parmesan Crisps
Makes about 4 servings
This one’s a little more challenging, but the reward is awesome!
Purchase about 1 to 1 1/2 lb of red skin potatoes of equal size (approximately 1” to 1 ½”). Spray potatoes with a vegetable spray, season with salt and pepper, and roast at 375 F for 20 minutes or until JUST tender.
Allow the potatoes to cool enough to be handled, and then trim a flat spot on the bottom of each (so they will be stable). Next, slice an equally flat spot from the top, and scoop out all the pulp, leaving a ¼” wall. Reserve the potato pulp in a small bowl. Mash the pulp, and then add approximately ¼ cup to 1/3 cup of fresh Basil Pesto (we make a great one at Nino’s or you can buy our Cibo brand).
Fill each potato’s cavity with the pesto mashed potato. Place each one on a cookie sheet and return to a 400 F oven for 15 minutes to reheat.
While the potatoes are finishing in the oven, in a non-stick skillet over medium heat, sprinkle silver-dollar-size shapes of shredded fresh Parmesan cheese on dry surface of the hot pan. Cook on both sides until bubbly and golden brown. Make one for each potato. Remove these rather flexible, cookie-like coins from the hot skillet to a plate. Once cool, they will become rigid and crisp. Remove the potatoes from the oven, and insert one crisp into each potato. Then serve.
Yukon Gold Potato Soufflé With Cheddar, Crispy Bacon & Chives
Makes about 6 servings
What’s a gourmet recipe without its soufflé version? Try this one. You can top it with sour cream. 2 TBSP Butter, plus more for brushing 1 ½ Lbs Yukon Gold Potatoes, peeled and quartered 3/4 Cup Half & Half ½ Lb Cheddar Cheese, shredded ½ Cup Crumbled Bacon Pieces 2 TBSP Chives (or Green Onion), minced To Taste Salt & Pepper 5 Extra-Large Egg Yolks 7 Extra-Large Egg Whites
1. Preheat the oven to 375°. Then butter and flour a 2-quart soufflé dish or approximately 6 to 8 – 1 cup ceramic ramekin soufflé dishes. 2. Simmer the potatoes in water until tender (about 20 minutes), and then drain off all the water, return the potatoes to the saucepan, place back on the heat and cook a moment longer to dry the potatoes out. 3. Add the butter and the half and half in 3 stages, and mash until smooth. 4. Mash in the cheese, chives and bacon, and then season with salt and pepper. 5. Stir in the 5 egg yolks, and then transfer the mixture to a larger bowl. 6. Whisk the 7 egg whites to a soft peak and fold into the potato mixture in 3 stages, using a rubber spatula. 7. Portion the mixture into the prepared soufflé dishes, leaving approximately ½ inch extra room beneath the top lip. 8. Bake about 45 minutes or until the soufflé has risen and is medium brown. 9. Serve immediately.