Summer salads, raclette, grills... All these recipes call for potatoes. Even if everyone agrees on the variety of potato and the cooking method, there remains one unanswered question: should we be peeling potatoes before or after cooking? Fine Dining Lovers put forward some 'pros' and 'cons' of each method to help you decide if you haven’t already.
Peel Before Cooking?
Much like an apple or a pear, peeling a potato when it is still raw seems like the most natural thing to do. There’s also the added factor that once cooked food can soften to such an extent that it it is more difficult to peel cleanly.
Peeling a raw potato avoids any burnt fingers from handling a hot potato after cooking, or time waiting for cooked potatoes to cool before handling.
Finally, by peeling potatoes before cooking you can avoid any laborious potato scrubbing to remove dirt and pesticide residues if you have decided to cook with the skin on.
Peel after cooking?
Peeling a potato after cooking also presents some worthy advantages.
Firstly, it’s easier to remove the potato skin alone without wasting any potato, as can happen when peeling a raw potato with a knife.
Peeling cooked potatoes looks super easy in this life hack: Apparently, you simply score the unpeeled item around the middle with a sharp knife and remove from the pot 15 minutes later, whereupon the skin, once grasped between finger and thumb, simply slides away.
In addition, potatoes don't crumble in water when cooked with their skin on. It can also preserve more of their nutritional qualities, even if it is known that a vegetable (or fruit) loses almost 80% of its nutrients during cooking.
Finally, whether you are for peeling before or after cooking, if your potato isn't organic scrub the skin well or remove it before eating.
The potato variety matters
As you consider which technique to use, you should also take into account the kind of potato you’re dealing with. If you have a hefty russet, you may want to forgo peeling altogether and enjoy the contrast of crispy skin and fluffy interior (this variety is best when baked). Likewise, you might be hard-pressed to peel a petite or fingerling potato even if you wanted to, due to its diminutive stature. Keep in mind that the skin of a red or white potato is thinner and more delicate, while a yellow potato’s hide is heartier. There are even blue or purple potatoes that can add a 'pop' of colour to a dish or salad if left unpeeled.
Recipes with potatoes
Put your peeled potatoes to good use, however you decide to remove their skin, in this winning mashed potato with cream cheese recipe:
Or leave the skin on your spud and try this simple but ingenious twist on the baked potato: Hasselback potatoes. This Swedish staple involves cutting the potato into an accordion shape and adding butter and herbs. The result is crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside.