Tasty European treats

Tasty European treats

Super Spuds: 5 Ways to Add Interest to Mashed Potato Dishes at Your Family Restaurant

by Idris Vermaas

As delicious and versatile as potatoes are, they can be a bit of a bland dish when served the same way. Mashed potato is a case in point -- butter, milk and a decorative garnish is how most eateries choose to serve this up, but this is a culinary crime when there can be so many unique and imaginative variations of the mashed spud!

If your family restaurant needs to up its game in terms of side dishes or you're simply renewing your menu for the new season ahead, the humble mashed potato dish is a great place to start. There's no harm in the conventional serving for traditionalists and fussy eaters, but it's good to add a little interest for your adult customers (and adventurous kids). Turn the mashed spud on its head and get inspired with these 5 tasty tater ideas!

Turn up the heat

Nobody expects a mashed potato dish to kick them in the teeth with flavour, so why not do the unexpected and serve up a red hot variety of the stuff? For a walk on the wild side, add a little chilli powder or finely chopped jalapeño chillies into the mix. For spicy sensations of a different kind, try adding a teaspoon of horseradish or a pinch of Wasabi powder for spicy Japanese style.

Tater type? Yukon gold potatoes work well with spicy ingredients, as their sweet flavour helps to balance out the zesty, peppery tangs. Also, its golden yellow flesh nicely complements the warm colours associated with spicy food.

Say cheese!

Cheese and potato is a match made in heaven -- just try to stay away from the predictable cheddar cheese and mash combo. Other cheese types you can include are blue cheeses for a rich, crumbly texture; mozzarella and parmesan for a cheesy taste of Italy; shredded Gouda for smoky, flavoursome mash and cubes of feta cheese mixed in with chopped Kalamta olives for some Greek-inspired cheesy spuds.

Tater type? Most potato varieties work well in cheesy potato dishes, but dauphinoise potatoes made with Maris Piper or King Edward spuds can lend an extra creamy, decadent finish. These cheesy mash varieties can make for a great kid-friendly starter or a grown-up side to a sausage and mash meal.

A taste of India

Bring a taste of Indian cuisine to the simple mashed potato dish by working in a few Eastern-inspired flavours. You could add hints of turmeric and coriander for some mild Indian flair or go the whole hog with a yellow curry dish. This combines coconut milk and curry sauce to give the mash a distinct yellow colour. You could also use curry powder or red curry paste for an extra kick.

Tater type? Common russet potatoes are a good choice since they are tender when boiled and have a creamy texture that is consistent with most curry dishes. They're also easy to puree if you ever want to serve up a potato soup variation on the curry dish!

The sweet life

Not to be confused with sweet potato -- although this does make a great mashed potato dish -- mashed potato can be given a sweet twist using sweetened spices, fruit and nuts. A blend of applesauce, cinnamon and nutmeg makes for a refreshing mashed potato dish. Other great sweet varieties can include hazelnut and sweet potato, carrot and butternut squash and pear and pureed sweet potato.

Tater type? Sweet potatoes and most other spud varieties are appropriate. It's the combination of sweet ingredients that are more important than texture here. These make perfect side dishes to roast beef and pork meals.

Holiday-inspired spuds

Themed mashed potato dishes are sure to go down well with kids and adults alike -- especially around the holidays. Try to theme your mashed spuds around the main events: Halloween, Christmas and Thanksgiving. Taking inspiration from food served on the two main holidays, you could try to incorporate things like turkey stock, pureed cranberries and other festive trimmings into the dish. With Halloween coming up, you could shock and delight the kids with a spooky side of mash. You could create anything from mashed potato snakes and cobwebs using balls and strings of mash or use piping bags to create a huddle of mashed potato ghosts and pumpkins!

Tater type? Almost all spud varieties work well in the above dishes, but if you want to reflect a holiday theme throughout your menu, you could go with sweet potato and Yukon gold spuds to make your mash -- these are frequently used in traditional Christmas and Thanksgiving dishes such as yam and sweet potato pie. Also, creamier potatoes like Maris Piper will make it easier to mould and create fun shapes with the mash.

Now that you have a new roster of exciting potato dishes to whip up, make sure you're well stocked for it. Whatever your recipes call for, a supplier of wholesale pre-prepared potatoes will be sure to deliver the quality ingredients to you on time and at a reasonable price -- leaving you to worry about making creative mash dishes!


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Tasty European treats

I have the best business ever. I spend each summer in Europe on a tasting tour, working what treats are only available locally and what foods I might be able to import to Australia. Australian consumers are a unique market. They are very adventurous with baked treats and fresh produce, but in some other ways, they are not used to try anything different. I'm always looking for foods that might be popular and would complement our lifestyle with lots of fresh food and lightly grilled meats. If you want to know more about European food suppliers in Australia, my site is the place to start!