All about the Nightshades (Potatoes) – Culinary Class Night 6

The first few things that come to mind when I hear the word “potato” are: Sunday night dinners growing up, my Godfather Jim’s affection/obsession with them, and the mashed potatoes my Opa used to make on Thanksgiving. Potatoes aren’t something I cook with a lot but my in-law family loves tater tots and I do have a sweet spot in my heart for bubbly cheesy scalloped potatoes.

That said, did you know that potatoes are apart of the nightshade family and that the greens of the potato plant are poisonous? Because of their growth underground, they contain moisture and nutrients for the plant and act as a storage system for it. This is why you always want to store your potatoes in a cool, dark and dry spot to keep them fresh. Oh and never put your potatoes in the fridge because the cold will activate the sugars in them and turn them into sugar apples!

Pommes Puree (Mashed Potatoes)

Every thing we tasted in class was phenomenal, but never have I ever had mashed potatoes as good as the ones pictured above. As Chef put it, “Mashed potatoes are a vehicle with which to convey as much butter and cream into our mouths.” The mashed potatoes were carefully crafted and boiled to perfection then pushed through a ricer to make it easy to stir in the luscious butter and cream. The ricer disintegrates the potatoes without agitating them so that their starchiness is left intact and the yield is nothing short of dreamlike.

The scalloped potatoes were a class favorite as well. I swear if you put Gruyere cheese on my foot I would eat it. It is creamy and nutty and marries with the heavy cream so that the thinly sliced potatoes are basically swimming in it. The french fries were out of control good and chef explained that an Idaho potato makes the perfect fry because it is older and very starchy. You fry them twice to get the ultimate fry – the first time to cook the them and the second time to lock in the flavor and crisp ’em up. Oh and homemade mayonnaise? That was whipped up in front of our eyes and tasted out of this world.

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Pommes Daupinois (Scalloped Potatoes)

Pommes Daupinois (Potatoes Gratin)

Potato Gratin

Gratin Potatoes – Gratin comes from French word “gratiner” which means to brown on top.

Pommes Frites with Homemade Mayonnaise (French Fries)

Pommes Frites with Homemade Mayonnaise (French Fries)

Pomme Anna & Yukon Gold Rissoles

Pomme Anna & Yukon Gold Rissoles

Roasted Fingerling Potatoes

Roasted Fingerling Potatoes finished with a splash of red wine vinegar

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