10 Ways to Use Potatoes

POTATOES BY THE POUND

Potatoes are one of the cheapest sources of nutrition to add to your shopping list. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a pound of russet potatoes or sweet potatoes averages less than $1. The unit cost decreases as the potato count grows; a 5-pound bag of russets, for example, goes for about $2. But cheap and popular though they are, who wants the same type of potatoes night after night? Behold: 10 culinary applications for the tuber.

HASHED

A potato hash takes advantage of both the inherent textures of the root vegetable: soft and crispy. To make a basic hash, cut potatoes into a small dice and boil until al dente. Drain and transfer to a skillet, saut閑ing in oil or butter over high heat to get the potatoes crisp, shaking the pan constantly as the potatoes cook. For added flavor, the combinations are countless. Try the classic of onion, green peppers, and chili peppers, or sweet potatoes and mushroom. Turn this into a cheap yet hearty meal by topping the hash with sunny-side-up eggs.

MASHED

Starchy potatoes such as russet, as opposed to waxy varieties, are the best for mashing into a light and fluffy texture. Simply boil peeled, diced potatoes until fork-tender, drain, and mash. Stir in a few pats of butter and a touch of dairy such as heavy cream, being careful not to overmix. Garnish with a signature or seasonal touch such as bacon and chives or roasted broccoli and cheddar cheese. BuzzFeed has a list of more mashed potato variations, such as mashed sweet potatoes with kale and slow-cooker mashed potatoes.

BAKED

Perhaps the simplest of all to prepare, the humble baked potato can be a side or main dish depending on your needs. Prick a few holes in a potato and place in a 350-degree oven until tender, usually an hour or so. A baked potato can become the perfect canvas for endless creative toppings: salsa and black beans; sour cream, bacon, and chives; saut閑d mushrooms and onions; or even brie and ham.

FRIED

Potatoes and fried food claim legions of fans on their own, and even more so when merged into french fries or potato chips. There's something special about the caramelization of starchy sugars in potatoes that resonates with so many palates. Pulling this off at home may require special equipment, such as a mandoline for thinly sliced potatoes appropriate for chips or a deep-fry thermometer and Dutch oven for french fries. Serve with a variety of sauces or condiments, from ubiquitous ketchup to an exotic chutney.

DOUGH

As a staple crop in many areas of the world, potatoes have found their way into dishes that typically belong to other staple grains, such as pasta. Gnocchi is the most popular example, and is often available in the freezer aisle of the supermarket. Want to make your own? Knead together freshly mashed potatoes with flour and an egg, following instructions from Allrecipes.
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FRITTERED

Some recipes for potato fritters, such as latkes, start with uncooked potatoes. Other pan-fried potato cakes, such as croquettes and aloo tikki, combine cooked, smashed potatoes with other ingredients. Typically fried, many of these can be baked for a lower-fat version, although the texture may be different. The food magazine Saveur offers a recipe for tackling röti, the Swiss version of hash browns.

STUFFING

From pierogies to samosas, anything that can be stuffed likely has met a potato filling. Soft and creamy and sometimes laced with spice, potatoes make a hearty filling for all types of dishes. Whether for twice-baked potatoes or inside a calzone, their mild flavor and adaptable texture make them ripe for experimentation.

SALAD

Almost everyone has their own way of making potato salad. Versions also vary depending on regional differences, from mustard-based potato salad to warm German potato salad to sour cream and chive potato salad. The two constants remain the salad's deliciousness and frequent appearance as a side dish. Serve warm, cold, or at room temperature and utilize leftover vegetables as mix-ins. Extra potato salad can be tossed into regular garden salads, too.

SOUP

Cooks have been puréeing potatoes into soup to thicken the texture for years, yet potatoes can also hold their own as a silky and satisfying soup. Garnish a puréed potato soup as you would a baked potato. Also, consider adding potato chunks for extra bulk in any soup or stew recipe to increase the comfort factor.

BAKED GOODS

Take a cue from Idahoans who have learned to use potatoes in a variety of ways. Incorporate potato flakes or potato flour into all types of baked goods, such as potato bread. Or, go the Southern dessert route with a classic sweet potato pie.