Fall is the season I recall fond memories of being in his huge garden with my great-grandfather harvesting the vegetables that needed to be picked before the first hard frost, and my great-grandmother canning (preserving) them in that big, scary, pressure cooker. Some of the even better memories are the dishes she would cook for us, celebrating the bounty of a well tended herb and vegetable garden with all its variety.
Among our favorites was the wonderful potato; Russets for baking, frying and roasting (not suitable for soups); all purpose white potatoes (creamy when baked yet hold their texture when boiled); and waxy varieties like Yukon Gold and red potatoes that are ideal for potato salad, soups and stews, but can also be roasted and baked. Here are a few time-tested side dishes that celebrate the potato.
ORANGE AND GOLD POTATOES AU GRATIN
Here is an eye catching casserole that combines bright orange sweet potatoes with with gold potatoes, ricotta or cottage cheese, and your choice of Romano cheese (creamy), asiago cheese (saltier), or parmesean cheese (salty and nutty). You can layer with same color slices to achieve rows of color, or alternate as we have done here, to create a colorful basketweave pattern in your servings. Here’s the recipe.
ROAST PARMESAN BABY POTATOES
This is an easy, but elegant, side dish that really pleases the eye and the taste buds. The boiling cooks them through, while the roasting gives them a crunchy skin. The parmesan cheese and mustard are a natural favor combo, and these potatoes are an excellent side to serve with any entree that would be complemented by a hint of mustard. Here’s the recipe.
TWICE BAKED POTATOES
The versatile potato can be cut into slices as you see here, or just cut the skin off the top, scoop out the interior, fluff it up, and put it back in! This technique with russet potatoes creates a skin that will hold up to this kind of handling without falling apart. Use the same technique to create some delicious potato skins to serve as appetizers, or serve three or four as a side dish. The recipe is located here. Here is also a version for Twice Baked Potato Skins
ROASTED PURPLE FINGERLING POTATOES
Eye catching purple colored fingerling potatoes add a striking contrast to brighten up any lunch or dinner plate. Sprinkle with grated cheese, dress with a light vinaigrette, or add Italian flavoring to compliment your entree. Serve these as a delightful side dish, or stick a round toothpick in them lengthwise to turn them into baked Hasselback appetizers! Here’s the recipe, which includes the Hasselback appetizer.
MAKE AHEAD MASHED POTATOES
This recipe uses the restaurant process for preparing light, fluffy, and flavorful mashed potatoes that deliver on that silky texture that we love on our plates. Whether topping with gravy, a sauce, or an entree meat, no one will know that these were made ahead of time. It’s a great time saver when you’re trying to get multiple dishes ready for that special occasion meal. You can find the recipe here.
FRIED CARROTS, POTATOES AND ONIONS
This is a hearty side dish that can be adapted many ways including being a wonderful campfire dish for campouts. It uses the classic mirepoix base of onions+carrots+celery, so it has all the flavors that blend so well to elevate your dish into yummy goodness. Fry an egg or two to put on top, perhaps even drizzle on some gravy, and now you have an entree! Here’s the recipe.
What are your favorite memories or traditions? What dishes make regular appearances at your family’s gatherings?
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