“It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems just with potatoes.”

Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy


Douglas Adams

Douglas Adams – he also created Dr Who, and contributed to Monty Python.

It’s 11 March today, Douglas Adams’ birthday. His book, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, clearly enjoyed by the two Saucy Dressings’ tasters, above (one was reading to the other), is also one of my favourite books. It’s marvellously zany, the dry humour encapsulating much wisdom – “Would it save you a lot of time if I just gave up and went mad now?”seeming to be a particularly reasonable question, for example.

I think it’s Arthur Dent who comments that potatoes, on their own, completely naked as it were, are not enough.

At the very least you need butter and salt.

But that is the very least. So to celebrate Adam’s life and work Saucy Dressings is posting on the best potato recipes – and here they are, some fifteen of them.


No 1 Montepulciano onion-braised potatoes

Slow-cooked in Noilly Prat vermouth, these soft, scented potatoes can be quickly extended into a whole meal by adding artichoke hearts and ricotta-stuffed chicken.  Here’s the link.onion-braised potatoes recipe

No 2 Crushed lemony potatoes

This is one of my favourite ways of cooking potatoes, just straightforward boiling. Needless to say there is no peeling involved and preparation time is minimal. Here’s the link.

non-peel potato recipe


No 3 German potato salad

The Germans excel at this – although it’s more a method than a prescriptive recipe – every hausfrau has her own approach – some add bacon. Here’s the link.

german potato salad


No 4 How to cook the best ever baked potatoes in their jackets

It’s all in the massaging. Simple method explained. Emergency method as to what to do to speed up the process if you have forgotten to put them in on time. And a whole list of creative fillings. Here’s the link.

jacket potatoes aka baked potatoes


No 5 How to cook Jersey Royal potatoes – don’t shock the tuber!

For heaven’s sake don’t peel them (I’m sure you knew that); and put them in cold water, then bring to the boil, in spite of advice from many celebrities. Here’s the link.

how to cook jersey royal potatoes



No 6 Wonderful wedge lemon-roasted potatoes instead of chips

I don’t do chips – I am not cluttering up my kitchen with a deep fat fryer, and I am not throwing away all that fat. And in any case Life is Too Short. Whenever a dish calls for chips, this is what I do instead – it is genuinely no work – and the lemon makes them a bit unusual. Here’s the link.

recipe for wonderful wedge potatoes


No 7 My son’s super-excellent roast potatoes

Using a method developed over decades, with great dedication. Includes techniques recommended by such culinary giants as Nigella and Heston; and an idea for what to do with leftover roast potatoes. Here’s the link.

roast potatoes recipe


No 8 Poem-inspired fried potatoes

The best way to make fried potatoes, as lyrically described in Pablo Neruda’s poem, Papas Fritas. Here’s the link.

fried potatoes recipe


No 9 Greco-Italian potatoes with greens

A dish of potatoes and mixed greens (called yahnera) which were to be found the last time I was in Crete (some decades ago) in the markets in spring. The predominant flavour of these bunches comes from wild fennel, but they would also include a number of other plants – chrysanthemum for example. Some Italian chard, fennel and mild onion is also included. Here’s the link.

Cretan potatoes and greens recipe

No 10 Impressive Pommes Anna

Created during the era of Napoleon III, and named, as were so many culinary triumphs in those days, after one of the grandes cocottes of the period. These look difficult, but if you follow these instructions they are a cinch. Here’s the link.

pommes anna recipe


No 11 Savoury Tarte Tatin

Ideal for vegetarians this one – it will make the centrepiece of an impressive spread. Here’s the link.

savoury tarte Tatin recipe


No 12 Dauphinois potatoes made using the dry stone wall technique

Naughty, and a lot more than just nice, this is a creamy, dreamy way of cooking potatoes. Here’s the link.

dauphinois potatoes

No 13 How to keep your instant mash a state secret

What it says on the tin: quick, easy, and no one will ever know. Comes with a list of interesting things to add – mayonnaise, vanilla, black pudding, truffle oil…. and lots of other ideas you might not have thought of. Here’s the link.

mashed potato

No 14 Tortilla Española

I’ve been looking for the secret to making this wonderful Spanish dish for a long time. Now I know that time is the essence. Post to come.

tortilla espanola recipe


No 15 2.00 am patatas bravas

Another superlative Spanish way of slowly braising potatoes incorporating a little spicy, warming heat. Again, post to come. Drink with a cold, dry sherry.

recipe for patatas bravas


For more interesting ideas of things to do with potatoes, try buying Potatoes: 65 delicious ways with the humble potato from fries to pies by Jenny Linford