Cooking With Potatoes

(Last Updated On: )

Cooking potatoes can be easy and tasty. Here’s a look at all the different ways you can cook them, along with some recipes to try.

Often considered an everyday food article, potatoes have provided the basis for some of the world’s classic dishes. They can be treated in many different ways.

Easy to grow and usually producing a bountiful harvest, potatoes are considered a staple part of the diet in many cultures. There are over 100 known varieties of potato ranging from long and skinny to short and fat and coming in a range of colors, including a dark purple variety. Potatoes belong to the same general plant group as as tomatoes, aubergines and peppers.


Although sometimes shunned by the carbohydrate conscious because of the starch they contain, potatoes contain large amounts of the nutrients needed in a healthy diet, and are an excellent source of dietary fiber. They contain some protein – and no fat.

Potatoes contain large amounts of Vitamin C and Vitamin B6 and are low in sodium while being a valuable source of potassium. They also contain other important minerals needed by the body in small amounts: iron, copper, magnesium, phosphorus and iodine.


Potatoes can be boiled, mashed, fried and baked. They can be eaten whole, chopped, chipped or grated and turned into salads, soups, pies, omelettes – even cakes and scones. It is usually the method of cooking that gives potatoes such a bad reputation amongst dieters. Adding butter or milk to potatoes immediately increases their fat content and the number of calories in the dish. However, adding herbs, seeds, onion or low-fat cheese to give flavor to potatoes provides a dish that is both tasty and healthy.

Buying potatoes

When selecting potatoes look for those with a smooth, unbroken skin. It is better not to buy potatoes in bulk, especially if they are stored in plastic bags, where they can sweat and rot or turn green. Just choose as many as you need, when you need them, to ensure they are as fresh as possible. Buying washed potatoes is false economy because you will need to either peel them or re-wash them after they have been handled in the store. Potatoes with just a small protective covering of dirt on their skins are best. Do not choose potatoes that show any green coloration. Their skins contain a poisonous compound called solanine, which can cause diarrhea, vomiting, breathing problems and even death, if enough is eaten.

Potato recipe

This economical recipe uses anchovy fillets to give a unique flavor. Although it contains healthy ingredients, it is not for the calorie conscious because of the cream it contains.

Anchovy and potato gratin

1kg/2 lb potatoes, peeled and sliced quite thinly
50g/2 oz butter
2 tabs any vegetable oil
3 large onions, sliced thinly
15-16 anchovy fillets
salt and pepper
fine white breadcrumbs
150 ml/1/4 pint cream
150 ml/1/4 pint milk

Heat the oil and half the butter, add onions and cook gently until soft. Arrange a layer of potatoes on the bottom of a greased gratin (baking) dish, add a layer of onion and criss-cross with anchovies. Season with a little pepper and salt. Continue adding layers, finishing with a potato layer. Top with breadcrumbs and dot with other half of butter. Bring cream and milk to boil in a separate pot and pour down the sides of the potato mixture. Bake at 200ºC (400ºF) for 45 minutes to one hour, or until potatoes are tender.