• Potato and cheese pancake (frico) (Paola Bacchia)Source: Paola Bacchia
While everyone else is busy stocking up on rice and pasta, we'll be over here, making friends with the spud.
16 Apr 2020 - 10:12 PM  UPDATED 22 Apr 2020 - 11:18 AM

What's a salt-of-the-earth type got to do to get some respect around here? Publicly demonised for the crime of having a high glycemic index. Too many complex carbs. Too many kilojoules. Way too likely to hang out with notorious bad boys like oil and salt. Spud's been on the hit list for years.

And yet, we still eat them by the truckload.

Here's the thing: potatoes may have a few issues, but they deserve their spot as the sixth most important staple food in the world. They are fat-free, a good source of both iron and fibre, packed with vitamins C, B3 and niacin, and an excellent source of potassium and manganese. They're also flat-out yummy any way you cook them.

Right now, they're also in good supply at the shops. Which automatically makes them the current King of Starch. Here's how to make friends with good ol' spud.

Potatoes love getting roasted

These crispy-edged roast spuds are a potato lover's dream.

Call them any name you like, potatoes can take a good roasting. They bake easily in the knowledge that no other vegetable can achieve that fluffy-on-the-inside, crunchy-on-the-outside magnificence of a roast potato. They do this generously, requiring just 10 minutes of effort and a long, slow roasting to perfection.

Whistle and they're there

Potato whistles with chanterelles

Known to the people of the Aukštaitija region in Lithuania as bulbona, these potato pillows are more commonly called Švilpikai, which translates as ‘whistles’ due to the noise they sometimes make while they cook away in the oven. 

Simple potato soup

Potato soup is enjoyed throughout Germany. As with many potato dishes, recipes vary by region and family. 

Pizza potatoes

Frank Pinello's aunt shares their family recipe for a potato casserole that embraces the spirit of pizza.

Potato pavé

These pavé, golden bricks of pressed, creamy potato, take their name from the French word for cobblestone. 

Always ready to comfort

Potatoes are never better than when they're making gnocchi great. The playfulness of making the silky dough, the soothing rhythm of rolling it out, the mindful repetition of cutting each generous bite. It all comes together to create a comforting dish that will quickly make you forget, whatsisname, pasta.

One-tray kindness

They're givers, potatoes. They ask for nothing more than a rough peeling and chopping, before getting down to business. Here, they work tirelessly with some pork snags and a few herbs to cook dinner for you. You'll barely have to lift a finger. That's how kind potatoes are.

There when the chips are down

Heston Blumenthal's triple cooked chips

It doesn't take much to lift potatoes to grand heights. Combined with oil and salt, they are sensational. Legendary chef Heston Blumenthal calls these chips "one of my proudest legacies", so you know you're in for a crunchy treat. Balance these bad boys out with a large salad - this rainbow version would be perfect.

Rose's savoury zeppole

Rose's secret weapon in these savoury zeppole is potato, cooked and mixed in with the flour, eggs, yeast and milk. Each savoury doughnut is stuffed with an olive or anchovy before frying for an added surprise inside.

New potato and chorizo tortilla

Many countries have their own version of an open omelette. The Italians have frittata, the Spanish tortilla. In France it is Spanish omelette. Traditionally it wouldn’t be new season potatoes used in this dish – it would be bigger main crop potatoes – but I wanted to celebrate the first of the early potatoes and they work surprisingly well.

Farmer’s breakfast (bauernfrühstück)

A German farmer’s breakfast will sustain you for hours! It’s a quick, one-pan dish, perfect for the weekend! This hearty recipe from northern Germany serves two and might remind you of the English bubble and squeak, French omelette or Spanish tortilla.

Tortilla togetherness

Tortilla calls!

The classic Spanish tortilla is packed with potato, but adding broccoli lightens it a little and adds another vegetable to the friendship picnic. This is still a four-ingredient dish, prepared in moments and ready for lunch in about half an hour.

Spice up the friendship

Bring a little bit of Bollywood into your relationship with these exotic vegetarian morsels. Bhajis are the Indian version of veggie fritters, so naturally, they make great snacking. Dip them into carrot raita, or a spicy red pepper chutney.

Share some pie

This cheese, potato and onion pie is real comfort food, warming and filling, based on potatoes and enhanced with lots of melted cheese. The rich pastry is very tender and almost melts into the filling beneath. Serve it as a meat-free main course, with some steamed greens or a big bowl of salad.

Fish pie with mashed potato crust

It can be as simple or as complicated as you like, but a good fish pie is right at the pointy end of the comfort food pyramid for me.

Spicy potato salad (aaloo ko Achar)

This spicy potato salad is one of the most common dishes in Nepal. Every Nepali person would have had this achar at least once in their lifetime. It's one of the freshest and cheapest dishes to prepare and is loved widely.

Warm potato salad with knackwurst

Proper hot-smoked knackwurst is a German emulsified sausage that is the real deal in a hot dog.

Those that pud

Potato pudding (Kūgelis)

The perfect Lithuanian potato pudding is soft and fluffy, though many home cooks hold their own opinion on whether you should strain off the liquid when grating the potatoes, or keep the liquid, resulting in a moister dish. Both are good, it is simply a matter of taste.

Say chowder

Clam chowder.

This one-pot clam chowder wonder is enriched with floury potatoes. So thick it's practically a mash. There's magic in watching potatoes soak up the liquid surrounding them. Like a giant, flavour-packed sponge.

Frico great

Potato and cheese pancake (frico)

Frico is a bit like a cheesy potato tortilla but without any eggs. It hails from the mountainous Friuli region in north-east Italy. It's made with our friend the potato plus onions and cheese. Like all of the best foods, it's happiest eaten with a glass of red wine.

Hanukkah poutine

Traditional poutine is a Canadian specialiof French fries and cheese curds smothered in gravy. Kosher poutine is a bit of a challenge, but fear not as I have mastered the art with shredded fresh mozzarella to replace the curds and a parmesan ‘gravy’. This is a great dish for Hanukkah, as dairy is customarily eaten to remember the bravery of Yehudit. Note: you may need to take a nap afterwards!

Danish sugar-browned potatoes

These very sweet potatoes are a must for most Danes at Christmas. They are often served with Danish roast pork or with roast birds, like goose or duck. You sometimes see them in Norway although it’s not as common.

Caraway potatoes with quark (kümmelkartoffeln mit Quark)

Here's a German vegetarian dish that's a cinch. Plus, the sweet-tasting potato combined with the creamy quark makes for a wonderful snack or side dish with meat. Cottage cheese also works if you can't source quark.

Make sweet moussaka together

Time is something we've all got right now, and moussaka takes time. Every moment is rewarded when you bite into the potatoey, eggplant, zucchini (yes, this version adds zucchini) goodness that this layered bake delivers.

Such a sweetie pie

Melt-in-your-mouth Mazurian potato marjoram pie

This melt-in-your-mouth Mazurian potato marjoram pie is a treasured family recipe, handed down from a Polish grandmother who knew the value of a good Maris Piper. It's packed with big flavours, like garlic, onion, bacon and " lots, lots" of marjoram. It's fair to say you're looking at your new favourite lunch.

A friendship with balls

Let's wrap this potato fest with a Turkish amuse-bouche. Bulgurlu köfte are perfect served with drinks as the sun goes down. Proving, once again, just what a treasured friend Spud is to all.

There's no stopping potatoes
Potato ricotta gnocchi with braised greens

These light gnocchi are served with nutty browned butter and parmesan. With the greens, it's big, rich and flavourful. Once you’ve had gnocchi like this, there’s no other way to have them. 

Leah's potato latkes

Potatoes, which are a New World ingredient, did not enjoy widespread use in Eastern Europe until the nine-teenth century. Once the starchy tubers caught on, they were embraced with gusto, and today these potato fritters, with tender, savory insides and crackly crusts, are the undisputed king of Ashkenazi Hanukkah celebrations.

Caramelised onion, potato and feta tart

The creamy feta is cut through by the caramelised onions in this fancy-yet-fast savoury tart.

Curried potatoes with fried egg

The perfect fridge-ends dish: when the potatoes are left overnight, they dry out, so when you fry them they take on all the flavours and become incredibly crisp.

Fried cod with garlic-potato dip

This creamy garlic-potato dip will give your favourite tartare sauce a run for its money.

Potato croquettes (crochette di patate)

Croquettes are typical of friggitoria (fried food shops), as they're inexpensive and simple: one main ingredient plus fresh herbs. 

Potato rostï

A giant potato rostï for sharing - Sunday morning breakfasts will never be the same again. 

Potato scallops

As a New South Welshperson, I may be struck down for not calling these ‘potato cakes’ or ‘potato fritters’, as they do in other parts of Australia.

Spiced potatoes and coconut (urulai sukka)

Sukka means ‘dry’, so less liquid is added to this recipe compared with others.