Freelance writer and poet from London; if you would like to read my poetry, please check out my book, 'Poems on the Page', available from goo.gl/Ta4oAX.
Published November 11th 2013
With The Great British Bake Off over, I was wondering just how I was going to cope without my regular dose of Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood. The BBC quickly came to my rescue as it launched a new series called Paul's Pies & Puds. In one of the most recent episodes Paul Hollywood went in search for the perfect potato for his meat an potato pie, and it got me wondering, what makes the perfect potato?
There are over five thousand varieties, yet we all seem to go for the same ones again and again. When Paul did a survey, he found that the three most popular spuds were Jersey Royals, Desiree, and King Edwards. Why is this? Do you agree with the nation's verdict?
It isn't just a question of taste, but also with texture. Different potatoes cook best for different types of dishes. You can find out which you should use by a simple experiment: boil them.
If you boil a King Edward, it will have a fluffy middle, which makes delicious roast or baked potatoes, and are also excellent for chips. Desiree on the other hand, will fall apart when boiled; it has a smooth texture, which is great for mash. Jersey Royals on the other hand, are a much smaller form of new potato, and stay firm. These are best served as a side dish or in a potato salad.
If I were going to pick a potato to cook with, I would choose the Maris Piper, as it is a good all-rounder, meaning you don't have to go out buying loads of different types. Which are your favourite potatoes to serve at the dinner table? Is there a particular variety you would recommend for a certain dish?
for deep fried chips I have found most varieties do not crisp up well - most remain greasy/bendy/soggy - the only one I've found that goes nice and crisp and cruncy is the sebago so I look for that label - others look the same but unless it says that on the bag it probably won't make nice crisp chips in my experience
sebago tends to be a reasonably large brown irregular ovoid - up to around 150mm long, often dirty (to keep longer) - most retailers don't state the variety - last week at Paddy's markets I asked the seller who showed me the hessian sack it came in - marked sebago. But you have to check the label - I can't tell just by looking at the potato.