Even though potatoes originated in the New World and were brought to Ireland via the Columbian exchange, they remain a significant part of Irish culture and St. Patrick’s Day today! So, in honor of St. Patty’s Day on Sunday and the hangovers associated with removing the snakes from Ireland, below is a power ranking of some of the greatest potato dishes known to man.
1. Mashed potatoes
Mashed potatoes are arguably the greatest of all potato forms. With adjectives like fluffy, creamy and buttery often used to describe them, they never fall short or fail to taste amazing when executed well. And who doesn’t love the aggressive act of mashing a potato and obliterating it, pretending it’s your GSI who grades too hard just to show you how smart they are? Also, it’s so great, a dance was named after it!
2. French fries
Maybe we’re crazy, but there are so many ways to screw up a French fry — whether it’s too soggy, too big or too thick, they can easily become a big basket of nothing. When covered with enough salt and a hefty pool of ketchup on the side, however, they become delicious. Despite all of the possible ways to mess up French fries though, they’re always incredible. Whether it’s the fried aspect or the potato aspect, we don’t know, but what we do know is that French fries are perhaps one of the tastiest ways to eat a potato and possibly the easiest way to eat the most potatoes.
3. Potatoes au gratin
Potatoes au gratin is essentially thinly-sliced circular layers of potato, layered with cheese, heavy cream and occasionally topped with breadcrumbs. First of all, it’s French and whenever anything culinary is related to France, you know it’s going to be delicious. Also, to thinly and uniformly slice the potatoes, you need a mandolin, and if a mandolin is involved, you know you’re about to be making some classy potatoes. Ignoring the cultural implications of the dish though, every bite is packed with flavor, covered in rich cheesy goodness, making it a top contender in the world of potatoes.
4. Roasted potatoes
Roasted potatoes essentially take many different aspects of different foods to culminate in a well-rounded, crowd-pleasing dish. Imagine a fluffy, luscious potato, then imagine it topped with various herbs and spices. Now, imagine it slightly crispy with a scent that carries over from the kitchen into the rest of the house. It’s the perfect potato dish that tastes great without upstaging the rest of the meal, making it the trusty sidekick of the culinary world, yet it still has plenty of flavor and character to enrich the meal.
5. Hash browns
Hash browns could easily be considered the most forgotten potato dish, since they’re served for breakfast. While they’re incredibly tasty, making the perfect hash browns that aren’t too burnt but still cooked all the way through and remains together in the pan is quite difficult, bringing it down in the ranking. Also, the fried nature of hash browns make them less than desirable when it comes to health. The taste and crunch from the perfect hash browns, however, are a staple of any good breakfast, making them a memorable and delicious potato dish.
6. Baked potato
Ah, the humble baked potato. The baked potato is incredibly healthy, as it is literally a potato that has been baked, and all you really need to make it is an oven and a potato (even a microwave will do). While it’s arguably the simplest of potato dishes, it remains a filling and nutritious form of consuming a potato, and topping it off with some bacon bits, cheese, or sour cream makes it a standout option. Despite its goodness, however, it is fairly basic and lacks the creativity or imagination that au gratin and mashed potatoes have. Also, unless you load it with toppings, it can lack flavor, and its simplicity and humility might serve as its undoing.
7. Potato skins
While potato skins can be loaded with flavor and taste along with toppings like its brother, the baked potato, its lack of actual potato makes it a less favorable potato dish. With that being said, it’s still a great snack for a football game or family gathering, and it certainly won’t outshine the game or the rest of the present snacks, such as various layered dips and queso.
Contact Zachary Abuel-Saud at [email protected].