Thursday, 18 July 2013

New Potatoes - To peel or not to peel?

By virtue alone of the sheer volume of potatoes I’ve consumed in my lifetime, I consider myself something of an expert on spuds and the preparation and cookery, thereof. So, consider if you will my rapt attention whilst watching Simon Hopkinson prepare buttered new potatoes on his new TV program last week (yes, my Hoppy fixation rears its ugly head once again). He cooked them, OK, yes. But then…he peeled them.

This is something new to me, I mean, I realise you can peel cooked new potatoes but it’s such an utter frigging ballache to do, and the skins are supposedly so healthy and supposedly full of life enhancing nutrients that make your wanger strong or sumfink, so why bother? I’ve always been an unrepentant subscriber to the boil em, drain em, season em and whop a lump of butter to melt on them school.

Yet, Hopkinson’s bare spuds (steady) slowly cooked off in melted butter until glossy had me in a hypnotic daze with my tongue practically brushing my toes within seconds of appearing on the screen.

Hopkinson himself had nothing but utter contempt for the skins

“Now, would you want these little, leathery jackets on your potatoes when you could have them like that? My answer is No. Never. It’s worth all the effort, such as it is”

Which definitely reinforced my dawning realisation that I don’t actually know how to prepare new potatoes at all.

So, what to do but educate myself by cooking some spuds immediately, peeling those bad boys and seeing what all the fuss is about.

Of course, I’m sure you know how to boil some potatoes, but bear with me and I’ll remind you anyway, in case you’ve errr…somehow forgotten.

Hoppy prefers Pink Fir Apple potatoes. I used Jersey Royals, four per person.
Put em in a pan, cover with cold water. Add a pinch of salt and bring to the boil, for 10-12 minutes until tender.
Peel your potatoes whilst hot, this is apparently ‘easier’. I still found it maddening but ‘deep breath’.
Return your beautifully peeled potatoes to a pan, with a knob of butter and move around on a low heat until your spuds are nice and glossy. Season with salt and pepper, and then eat.

The result?
How could I ever doubt you Hoppy?
Buttery, perfect potatoes and on the plus side, no hidden manky bits lurking beneath the skin (my personal horror).

Consider me converted.
Definitely peel em.


Lynne Clark said...

oh but Jersey Royals are one of the spuds that really really do need to be peeled. They don't have that silky, buttery smooth flavour and texture if they aren't peeled.

Later in the season, it matters less, although so long as the skins are slightly papery I scrape them, they taste quite different.

Dan said...

Lynne - Way ahead of me. Exactly. It's all about the buttery texture. Seasonal scraping - this is advance spuddage

Lynne Clark said...

I only do advance spuddage on new potatoes for eating hot though... for potato salad, and salad nicoise or stuff like that, I just use a pre-washed bag of them, no skinning or anything else like that. I quite like the slight earthiness then when they are cold.

And best for that are Pink Fir Apples (Anya if you get them at Sainsbury's) which taste MUCH better cold than hot.

Gary said...

I have no idea why "Hoppy" always peels potatoes after cooking, it's many times more difficult than raw.

sarah said...

I've always scrubbed off the skins of (raw) new potatoes before cooking - it's what my mum does. I think it's because the new spuds she cooks are usually dug up from her garden and prepared within 5mins and difficult to clean otherwise... It's only since I've moved out that I've realised how utterly spoilt I was by my parents' veg garden!

Lizzie Mabbott said...

No no no no no. The joy of new potatoes is the skin! (I've had them peeled before.) Just give them a good scrub with a scourer before you cook them. Believe.

Dan said...

Lynne - Well that's you and Hopkinson agreeing on the Pink Fir Apples then.

Gary - Not entirely sure, but suspect it's because greater chance of them falling apart if peeled before boiling?

Sarah - Sounds amazing. Yep, you've definitely been spoilt there ;)

Lizzie - But that's the way I've always done them. I definitely think this wau is better. Although it probably has less to do with the removal of the skins and more to do with the gentle sauteing in butter.

cotswoldcapers said...

I have a lasting memory of my mum slapping me round the head for peeling Jersey Royals before cooking them when I was little. I've been a scrubber ever since. *shudders*

Dan said...

Cotswoldcapers - Hahaha potato based trauma.