Next time you eat a potato, leave off a little of the butter to find out what the spud really tastes like: It might be sweet, salty, earthy, or even buttery. Its texture might feel creamy, waxy, fluffy, or mealy.
Although there's no denying that potatoes taste wonderful prepared with some fat, their various flavors and textures stand out better in a leaner setting. We've taken advantage of these characteristics in dishes that let you appreciate the potato far more than the fat it's served with.
Choose your potatoes wisely
High-starch potatoes, such as russets (also called Idahos or baking potatoes), have thick, papery brown skin and white flesh. Their dry, fluffy texture makes them good for baking, frying, and mashing.
Many varieties have textures somewhere between starchy and waxy. Mature thin-skinned white potatoes hold their shape well when cooked and are creamy when mashed. Thin-skinned yellow-fleshed Yellow Finns and Yukon Golds have a dense, creamy texture that's great for both roasting and mashing. All of these potatoes are multipurpose choices; they make creamy soups and mashed mixtures without a lot of fat.
Thin-skinned round red potatoes and new potatoes (technically any kind that are harvested before maturity) have a smooth, firm texture that makes them well suited to roasting, boiling, and steaming, but they can turn gummy when mashed or puréed.