Do You Know Your Potato?
Did you know that potato is the most widely grown vegetable in Québec? This surely explains why there are so many expressions in Québécois featuring the potato: “lâche-pas la patate” meaning “hang in there”, “être dans les patates” for “being way off track” or the telegraphic version of Québec shepherd’s pie or pâté chinois recipe, “steak, blé d’Inde, patate”. But beyond these expressions, do you really know your potato?
Over half of the potatoes grown in Québec are destined to the table market. Potatoes are classified according to the colour of their skin or flesh (yellow, red, white, blue), their shape (round, long, oblong, baby potato) or their culinary use (boiling, mashing, baking, frying). There are more than a hundred cultivated varieties, but most of the production is dedicated to a dozen of them.
In large families of yesteryear, potatoes were mainly used as a plate filler because they were inexpensive. But it would be a shame to limit yourself to the Yukon Gold or the Russet because so many varieties of potatoes deserve to be discovered!
The Fingerling potato is one of the smallest varieties on the market. It’s a member of the baby potato family. It has an elongated shape and is slightly curled up. We like its thin skin which avoids having to peel it, but what we like above all is its delicate nutty taste.
We suggest this recipe: Fingerling Potato, Curry-marinated Cipollini Onions, Smoked Duck Breast and Mustard Yogurt Salad
You want to add a little colour to your plate? Then you have to try All Blue potatoes. As the name says, its flesh is a lovely bright blue. This ancient variety from South America owes its colour to the pigment anthocyanin, which is also found in other fruits and vegetables such as blueberries, blackberries and eggplant.
When cooking, make sure to keep the skin on to preserve the colour. All Blue potatoes also keep their colour better when baked or pureed.
A variety cherished by chefs, the Bintje potato has a floury texture and a drier flesh. These characteristics mean that it absorbs butter or sour cream well. To harness its full potential, it is best used for fries, mashed potatoes or for a delicious aligot.
We suggest this recipe: The Europea Restaurant’s Aligot with Laiterie Charlevoix 1608 Cheese
To add a rosy colour to your cooking, choose the Mozart potato. We love this potato for its radiant pink skin. Thanks to its firm flesh, it is best boiled or steamed. This potato has excellent culinary qualities, including an exceptional and distinctive taste of hazelnuts, butter and cream. Who wouldn’t want to try such a symphony of flavours?
There are many more varieties of potato to discover. The #1 quality of this tuber remains its versatility. A potato will add thickness to a soup; we like it sliced into crispy fries; we even use it in certain desserts such as the famous potato candy. The potato truly deserves a place of its own in our plate.
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