Potatoes: more than a bit on the side on National Potato Day

Recipes for those who say it’s not dinner if there’s not a spud on the plate

 

Friday is National Potato Day, and while most of us are content to roast our Roosters and mash our Maris Pipers, there’s a lot more we could be doing with our emblematic vegetable, as chef Mark Moriarty points out.

“We all know how tasty potatoes are, but very few Irish people experiment and push out the boat when it comes to cooking them. Practically every culture in the world grows potatoes and has their own potato recipes, and I would love people to be more adventurous and to discover the versatility and joys of this wonderful food ingredient.”

Moriarty, who hands over his San Pellegrino Young Chef of the Year crown to the 2016 winner at a Grand Final in Milan next week, is working with Bord Bia on a three-year EU funded campaign for the promotion of fresh potatoes.

Moriarty says the potato is one of the most versatile ingredients he has in his kitchen and he uses them in Thai and Indian curries, Caribbean and Mexican dishes, as well as recipes from all across Europe.

“Potatoes are at the top of my shopping list, because they have their own great taste, as well as being able to carry so many other food flavours.”

There are lots of recipes using potatoes on the website potato.ie, including an interesting take on tabbouleh, using diced potatoes in place of bulghur. It’s a trend that is gaining traction; potato risotto has cropped up twice in the current series of Great British Menu on BBC television, including one dish from a chef who had the unenviable task of presenting the hybrid to chef Angela Hartnett, whose Italian restaurant Murano has a Michelin star and whose grandparents are from Bari.

Despite the challenges presented by pasta and rice, potatoes remain the Irish consumer’s go-to starch, with the national spend on the tuber reaching €201 million annually. Rooster is the most popular variety of potato in Ireland, but specialist growers such as Ballymakenny Farm Heritage Potatoes in Co Louth are also growing unusual varieties such as the Purple Violetta and the Red Emmalie.

Here are some recipes ideas from the chefs and cooks in The Irish Times recipe archive to make potatoes at least one of your five a day. And no, a bag of crisps doesn’t count.

Imen McDonnell’s potato rasher and rosemary pizza

Lilly Higgins potato salad with dill and smoked salmon

The potato salad bowl is always licked clean

Domini Kemp’s cheesy baked potato skins

Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Donal Skehan’s stuffed gnocchi in tomato sauce

Transfer the sauce and the gnocchi to a serving dishes and garnish with basil leaves and more Parmesan cheese.

Felicity Cloake’s Aloo Tikki Scotch eggs

They are good hot or at room temperature, and pair well with mango chutney, sweet and sour date and tamarind chutney or a coriander and mint raita

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