Terrific Taters

There are more than 100 varieties of potatoes sold throughout the United States but they basically boil down to a few categories. Using the right potatoes for your recipe will make all the difference in the finished dish.

Russets are ideal for light and fluffy mashed potatoes. They also fry up crisp and golden brown, and they are the potato of choice for baking. Try cutting into planks or wedges to make hearty oven-roasted fries.

Because of their waxy texture, the flesh of red potatoes stays firm throughout the cooking process, whether they are being roasted or cooked in a stew. Their thin yet vibrant red skin adds appealing color and texture to side dishes and salads. Reds are frequently used to make potato salad or add pizzazz to soups and stews.

White potatoes hold their shape well after cooking. Their delicate, thin skins add just the right amount of texture to a velvety mashed potato dish without the need for peeling. Grilling whites brings out a more full-bodied flavor.

Grilling gives yellow potatoes a crispy skin that enhances the dense flesh, creating a slightly sweet caramelized flavor. The creamy texture and golden color of yellow potatoes mean you can use less or no butter for lighter, healthier dishes.

Most blue/purple potatoes have moist, firm flesh that retains its shape while adding rich, vibrant color and luscious taste to salads. The purple color is preserved best by microwaving, but steaming and baking are also great ways to cook blue/purple potatoes.

Reds, whites and blues — combine in salads or roasted medleys to make all three colors pop.

Fingerling color and shape are a welcome visual addition to any dish. Pan-frying and roasting enhance their robust flavor and showcase their wonderful nutty or buttery tastes.

Try this delicious potato recipe for dinner tonight!

Rösti With Pastrami and Scallions

4 slices thick-cut pastrami, chopped

6 scallions, checked, chopped, divided

5–6 tablespoons canola oil

1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled

1 teaspoon kosher salt plus more

3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Cook pastrami in a small nonstick skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until most of the fat is rendered and pieces begin to crisp, about 5 minutes. Set 1 tablespoon of scallions aside. Add remaining scallions to skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until pastrami is crisp and scallions are soft, 4–5 minutes longer. Using a slotted spoon, remove pastrami mixture from the pan and place on a paper towel-lined plate.

Add 3 tablespoons canola oil to the fat remaining in skillet.

Coarsely shred potatoes into a large bowl. Working in batches, squeeze potatoes with your hands to release liquid and transfer to another large bowl. Discard liquid. Add the reserved pastrami mixture to the squeezed potatoes. Season with 1 tablespoon salt, and pepper; toss to evenly distribute.

Heat skillet over medium heat until sizzling. Scrape potato mixture into hot skillet, pressing with a spatula into an even layer. Tent with foil; cook for 10 minutes, rotating skillet frequently to avoid hot spots. Remove foil; cook rösti until bottom is golden brown, about 5 minutes longer. Run a spatula around sides and underneath rösti. Invert a large plate over skillet. Using oven mitts, carefully flip rösti onto plate.

Add 2 tablespoons oil to skillet. Heat. Slide rösti back in, browned side up. Tent with foil; cook for 5 minutes. Uncover; cook until browned on bottom and potatoes are cooked through, about 10 minutes longer. Gently run spatula around sides and underneath rösti and slide onto a serving plate. Sprinkle with reserved scallions and season with more salt, if desired.