How to Jazz Up Potatoes

When tubers depress, it’s time for a makeover


Maybe you have a storage pantry full of potatoes and the sundry root veg remnants of this long, long winter. But even if you don’t, you’ve probably run into this depressing situation just the same: mucho potatoes on hand, no exciting ideas for cooking them.

Potatoes and excitement may not seem exactly related. But why must we always go the way of the basic mash, or French fry, or scallop? (Besides the fact that they're typically delicious, yes.) We figured if you’re going cook up leftover potatoes before they start growing those little green arms and trying to escape, why not avoid perpetual repeat?  Here are five recipes to jazz up the humble potato, and bring a little extra flavor to your tuber table.

Potatoes image via Shutterstock

Mash Makeover

Granted, this one doesn’t stray far from the average mash recipe. But we’re starting small, slowly stepping away from the mundane with a few add-ins and emphasis on quality. Here the idea is using lots of butter, just enough for that lush silkiness, plus lots of fresh, spicy chives and sautéed garlic. The red potatoes are mashed with skins on, and if you add in the high chives ratio, you end up with a rich, textural mash that’s almost worthy of main course-dom.


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Liquid Potato-Cheese Magic

This is a great option for anyone looking to unload potatoes by the pound—eight, to be specific. The only catches? You’ve got to have time for an overnight or during-the-workday slow-cooker session, and you’ve got to love cheese. This recipe calls for sharp cheddar and Velveeta, though we’d be inclined to experiment with all of just one or the other, or something else, depending on your cheesy proclivities. Broccoli florets flirt with nutritional value and some green depth to balance out the potato-cheddar creaminess (courtesy of an immersion blender).


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Soufflé Saves the Day

In a classic case of “this is unnecessarily confusing,” this soufflé recipe actually works best with boiling potatoes, not baking potatoes like Russett. Soufflé might seem like too ambitious an upgrade, but the recipe has some serious pay off, and fewer calories than you'd expect. That happy surprise comes from Cooking Light magazine, with its low-fat buttermilk and low-fat, low-sodium chicken broth to balance out the Gruyère and bacon (a mere 2 slices). As for assembly, just cook your potatoes, process with buttermilk, enrich with cheese, sautéed leeks and crumbled bacon, and lighten with some stiff egg whites. Nothing to it, right? Who said soufflé had to be scary?


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Applebees Upgrade

Potato skins don’t have to come “loaded with bacon” and delivered by a waiter in a flare-studded vest. They have a sophisticated side, as evidenced by this Fine Cooking recipe for Potato Skin Curls with Fresh Herbs. The beauty is that’s really all you need—some Yukon gold potato skins (save the flesh for a nice Ecuadorian potato pattie) and a mix of fresh herbs like rosemary, marjoram, parsley, etc. Just infuse canola oil with some of the herbs—longer for a more intense flavor—and fry the skins in that same oil. Then fry the remaining herbs for a garnish to blow guests' minds.


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Translated Potato Salad

Not every potato salad has to be built on the mayo-or-vinegar model. Take this recipe, a potato salad that tosses the gloppier, oilier dressings for light, bright, exotic Indian flavors. In fact, the only challenge here is getting your hands on chaat powder, aka chaat masala, a spice mix that can be made at home with a well-stocked spice cabinet or purchased in an Indian market. If you don’t have everything (like dried mango powder) to make the spice mix, it can’t hurt to play around with what you do have, or try to find it online. Your reward will be a healthy, zingy, routine-revitalizing potato salad. 


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