Everyone loves potatoes! They can be found in many recipes, either as a main ingredient or as a side. Between shepherd’s pie, salads, soups, or other winter dishes, there is always a good reason to cook a few potatoes.
However, even if this popular item can be found everywhere, it is not always prepared properly. Here are the three mistakes we all make when cooking potatoes.
Mistake #1: Peeling them while raw
Peeling potatoes is the first step before cooking them. However, this step can be annoying since the skin is thin and potatoes can vary in size. The best option is to cook the potatoes with their skins on. They will then be much easier to peel since all you have to do is make a cut with a knife and remove the skin.
In addition, they will taste better. Famed French chef Joël Robuchon used to cook them in their skin when making his famous mashed potatoes.
Mistake #2: Cooking them in boiling water
As with most vegetables, you bring water to the boil and then place the potatoes in the water. Big mistake! When the potato is cooked directly in boiling water, it will cook on the outside and stay firm in the centre. As a result, the cooking is not even and it does not hold well.
The best option is to start cooking them in cold water. When the water starts boiling, they take 20 minutes to cook (10 minutes for small potatoes). This will help you to achieve more even cooking.
Mistake #3: Sticking a fork in them to see if they’re done
We tend to stick a fork in the potatoes every 5 minutes to see if they are done. As a result, the potatoes start to fall apart in the water, which is not very appetising.
To avoid this, keep these cooking times in mind:
- 10 mins: this is the minimum cooking time for potatoes, they will never be overcooked.
- 15 mins: this is the cooking time for small potatoes (such as new potatoes).
- 20 mins: this is the cooking time for large potatoes (used in salads and mashed potatoes).
You should only stick a fork in the potatoes once at the end of this cooking time. If the fork comes out without difficulty, your potatoes are ready. If not, you will have to extend the cooking time by a few more minutes.