Red, Orange, Purple & White: Your Guide to the Potato Rainbow
When it comes to picking our carbs, we can never say no to a potato. Whether we’re feasting on tater tots at a trendy retro-style diner, mashing up Russets as comfort food, or adding potatoes to our sautés and salads for extra sustenance, we’re truly potato people at heart.
If you imagine that the potato starts at the French fry and ends with the loaded baked potato, though, then you’ll find a happy surprise waiting for you at the farm stand. Every time we visit a potato vendor, we’re struck again by the immense variety of potato types. The colors, shapes, sizes, and textures range from waxy little fingerlings to sweet orange yams that make us yearn for Thanksgiving.
**Taste the Potato Rainbow**
Multicolored Baby Potatoes
We love to fill a big bowl in the kitchen with these tri-colored, tiny round potatoes whose inside texture is quite waxy. That makes them less good for mashing but incredible for potato salad–we simply boil them, toss with a tarragon and cornichon dressing, and eat warm with our Chicken Paillard and Tomato Salad.
Purple Potatoes (left)
Purple potatoes are a type of fingerling potato native to South America. They offer more antioxidants than their paler relatives, and have an earthy and slightly nutty flavor. We smash them and serve them up with similarly earthy Brussels sprouts and crispy chicken legs in this fantastic fall chicken dish.
Yukon Gold Potatoes (right)
A thin skin and golden interior characterizes these perennial favorite potatoes. Yukon Golds can range in size from pretty teeny to nearly baked-potato size; you can always cut down a large one if you’re looking for smaller pieces. You can basically use a Yukon Gold in any recipe, roasted, smashed, or tossed with a creamy dressing in Trout with Creamy Potato Salad and Wilted Spinach.
Heirloom Fingerling Potatoes
Our favorite yellow fingerlings are also known as Russian banana potatoes, and with a name like that, how could they be bad? The pink-ish ones in the bowl are waxy Red Thumbs, while the purples have a slightly firmer flesh than the other two. Because of the thin skin, you can peel these guys easily after boiling, something we do in ourPotato-Pepper Hash.
Baby Red Potatoes
These little red cuties are white as snow in the inside with a beautiful bright red skin that doesn’t need to be peeled off in most preparations. Like Yukon Golds, these are really versatile. We especially love them crisped up, as in our Flat Iron Steaks with Artichoke and Potato Hash.
Russet potatoes, the hero of the potato family, are so widely know you might not even consider buying one if you’ve developed something of a gourmet bent. But nothing replaces their fluffy, starchy interiors when you’re making mashed potatoes or potato wedges to go with one of our homemade burgers.
Sweet Potato (left)
There are actually several varieties of the classic sweet potato–some of them are known as yams and some are sweet potatoes. The potatoes we normally send are called garnet yams, but they are actually sweet potatoes! Anyway, garnets are hearty and full of vitamins, and they even contain a good bit of protein. When roasted, they cook up sweet and fluffy. We’ll often peel and chop them, then saute with other ingredients like onions and orzo in Chicken Thighs with Sweet Potato Orzo Risotto.
Purple Sweet Potato (right)
This purple sweet potato, also known as Okinawan sweet potato, isn’t even a member of the potato family—it’s part of the same family as morning glory, or water spinach. The plant is native to the Americas and landed in Japan sometime in the 1500s. It grew so well there that it became popular in many Japanese dishes and now can be found throughout Asia and the Pacific. We pair it with Five-Spice Pork Chops in this popular recent dinner.