Since shipments of potatoes from Prince Edward Island to the US were supended Nov. 22 over fears of potato wart, there’s been talk of ways to support farmers facing a potential loss of $120 million in sales.
Encourage local restaurants and home cooks to serve more potatoes? Challenge other restaurants to see how many ways they can cook with spuds?
Rough calculations show PEI’s 165,000 residents would each have to eat almost two kilograms (four pounds) of potatoes every day, to make up for the 114-million kilograms of spuds sold across the border annually.
PEI chef Ilona Daniel has some suggestions for working potatoes into your diet. She’s an instructor at the Culinary Institute of Canada in Charlottetown, and spoke with Mainstreet PEI.’s Matt Rainnie about some of his favorite potato recipes.
“If somebody is making the potatoes for me, I think mashed potatoes, I would pick [for a side dish], Daniel said. “If I’m making it for myself, I think I really like roasted potatoes.”
She tosses her roasted potatoes with PEI-made butter, sprinkles them with pepper and salt and tops them with her “secret shame”: ketchup.
Mainstreet PEI9:38Chef Ilona potato recipes
Daniel chose to highlight two of her favorite recipes: potato roses and potato cake. She said they are both a bit unusual, and perfect to tackle on a blustery fall or winter day when you have a bit more time.
PEI potato roses
To make PEI potato roses, you’ll need approximately 10 potatoes of any variety: Yukon gold, white or russet will do, Daniel said. Slice very thinly by hand or use a food processor or kitchen mandolin.
Toss with olive or sunflower oil or butter, then toss with spices. Daniel suggests trying Sichuan Chinese spices, rosemary with lemon zest, or for PEI flavour, summer savory with black pepper.
Lay the slices in an overlapping row, then roll them up into what looks like a rose.
Pop into a well-oiled muffin tin and bake at 375 C for 15 minutes, then cover with foil and bake for another 10-15 minutes.
“We just want to make sure we get it steamed, but you also want to get a little bit of that caramelization,” Daniel explained.
“They look so beautiful.”
She said these are fun to make with children, and “will look really nice on your Instagram as well … and they’re fun to eat, too.”
PEI potato chocolate cake
“This recipe is one of my standards that I served almost every year at the PEI Shellfish Festival, along with our friends at the PEI Potato Board,” Daniel said, adding it always raises eyebrows when she tells people it’s made with potatoes.
She has also served it to food writers at an event in Manhattan at the Bon Appétit test kitchen.
The key ingredients are mashed russet or yellow potatoes, along with Greek yogurt or sour cream, local butter and a flavor extract of your choice (vanilla is most common).
“This recipe comes together pretty easy actually,” Daniel said.
The key is not over-mixing, she said. “A lot of times people over-mix their cake batter and then you end up with something that doesn’t rise as much,” she said.
You can use the batter in a Bundt pan or layer cake pans, or make cupcakes.
“The mashed potatoes are going to allow this cake to stay more tender, and it also makes it a little more dense and rich,” Daniel said, comparing it to a devil’s food cake in terms of texture.
She said at this time of year, “that’s how you want your cake.”
Daniel said she has proudly promoted PEI potatoes around the world, and is friends with many local farmers.
If alternate markets are not secured for the potatoes quickly, some of them may have to be destroyed.
Grab a fork, and eat up!
Here are a few ways CBC readers like to prepare potatoes.
(Please note that usernames are not necessarily the names of commenters. Some comments have been altered to correct spelling and to conform to CBC style.)
Potato fudge, scalloped potatoes, and french fries top the list.
“My dad made the best potato pancakes. We would have them for breakfast, lunch or supper. I have carried on the tradition,” shared Mark Enman of Summerside. They’re made from grated potatoes mixed with egg, flour, chopped onion and salt and pepper and fried in a skillet with a little oil until golden brown.
“I remember my father saying this was a popular food in depression because it was cheap, yummy and filling,” Enman said.
Ashley Anne Clark of Charlottetown suggested Hasselback potatoes, which are “thinly sliced (but still in the shape of a potato) baked, covered with cheese and chives, and re-baked.”
Melissa Lutz said her favorite is “râpure/shore with bacon on top, so good.”
“New potatoes boiled and eaten with butter and salt,” is Kathryn Dau-Schmidt’s favourite.
“Potatoes are amazing in any form but my all time favorite is this chocolate potato cake. Just shows how versatile they are!” said Donovan McNeely of Charlottetown.
Carrie Dobson loves Greek potatoes, do like this: peel and chop potatoes and boil for 20 minutes. Place in a baking dish and cover with water and add several glugs of olive oil. Add a teaspoon of oregano, plus lemon juice and garlic powder to taste. Place in oven at 350 C and cook about 35 minutes or until water has evaporated. You can crisp them up a bit with the remaining olive oil but be sure not to let them stick to the pan.
“My Scottish grandmother’s potato scones, but unfortunately Sara I cannot share the recipe,” joked Paul Alan.
Michelle Brenton grew up in Sherwood and commented: “My mom’s fried potatoes! Pre-boiled and cooled. Add a strip or two of bacon to cook with them. Always in a cast iron pan. Her secret is very hot pan and cold butter. “