In case you didn’t realise (I had no idea until a few days ago!), the week of October 1st – 7th is designated Potato Week. To celebrate, manyfacesofpotato.co.uk and potato ambassador Angela Cliffe are on a mission to show Brits how to get the best out of the potato, and to launch a new classification system to change the way people in Western England cook and eat this food staple.
New research shows that a number of Brits – particularly younger shoppers – aren’t aware of the differences between the many varieties of potatoes. While most can comfortably name the most popular of varieties, the knowledge stops there: over 50% of those surveyed by manyfacesofpotato.co.uk cited “New” and “Baking” as varieties. The research also highlighted that a third of adults from Western England wouldn’t be able to identify a King Edward potato in a supermarket…and that one in ten think that Honeydew is a variety of potato.
The survey also highlights difficulties in cooking potatoes, such as struggling to get roast potatoes fluffy enough, and not being able to make a smooth mash.
To combat this, Taunton-based Angela and her team are launching a new potato classification system, with the hope that retailers will change their labelling to three categories: Fluffy, Salad and Smooth. Fluffy varieties such as Maris Piper and King Edward are great for roasties, jackets and chips, while Smooth potatoes such as Desiree are perfect for cooking in a sauce, mashing, wedges and boiling…and Salad potatoes do exactly what it says on the tin. For more details of the classification system, see here.
This week, Angela kindly delivered a small bag of each of the three varieties to me, each with an accompanying recipe. She also provided all of the ingredients needed to make the Salad recipe: a potato, beef and spinach wilt.
500g Salad potatoes, such as Charlotte
2tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, finely sliced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
200g lean beef rump steak, cut into strips
100g mixed mushrooms, sliced or left whole if small
Salt and pepper
3 large handfuls spinach
3tbsp pine nuts, toasted
Scrub the potatoes, cut each in half lengthways, and then in half again.
To microwave: place the potatoes in a large microwave proof bowl. The less densely they are packed, the quicker they will cook. Run the potatoes under the tap and drain. Cover with clingfilm, put in the microwave and cook till tender.
On the hob: place potatoes in a pan with just enough boiling water to cover them. Lid on, bring to the boil and simmer for 15-20 minutes before draining.
Heat the oil in a pan and cook the onion, beef and garlic until the beef is lightly browned. Add the potatoes and mushrooms and cook for 2-3 minutes. Season, stir through the spinach and serve in salad bowls, sprinkled with pine nuts.