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Steaming

All potatoes steam well, but this gentle way of cooking is particularly good for very starchy potatoes and those that fall apart easily. Small potatoes, such as new potatoes, taste really delicious when they are steamed in their skins. Make sure that larger potatoes are cut quite small, in even-size chunks or thick slices. Leaving cooked potatoes over a steaming pan of water is also a good way to keep them warm.

1. Place the prepared potatoes in a sieve, colander, or vegetable steamer over a deep pan of boiling, salted water. Cover as tightly as possible and steam for 5–7 minutes. For smaller cuts or slices, increase the time to 20 minutes or more if the potatoes are in large pieces.

2. Towards the end of the cooking time, test a few of the potatoes with the tines of a fork. If they are cooked, turn off the heat and leave until you are ready to serve them. They will keep warm above the water.

Boiling

Boiling is the simplest way of cooking potatoes. Place potatoes of a similar size, either whole or cut into chunks, with or without their skins, in a pan with suffi cient water to cover them.

  • Starchy potatoes need very gentle boiling, or you may fi nd the outside is cooked before the inside is ready, and they will become mushy or fall apart.
  • New potatoes, which have a high vitamin C content, should be put straight into boiling water, cooked for about 15 minutes, and not left soaking.
  • Very fi rm potatoes for salads can be put into boiling water and simmered for 5–10 minutes. Reduce heat. Simmer in the hot water for an additional 5–10 minutes.
  • When they have fi nished cooking, drain in a colander and return potatoes to the pan to dry off . For really dry potatoes (for mashing, for instance), leave them over a very low heat so any moisture can escape. Additionally, you can sprinkle the potatoes with salt and shake occasionally until the potatoes stick to the sides of the pan.
  • Cover potatoes with a lid or clean dish towel until ready to serve.