The astute among you will have observed that this week’s Spud Sunday is suffering from a mild bout of tardiness. If this were school, I’d have a note from my parents to say that it was their 60th wedding anniversary celebrations that had me otherwise engaged this weekend. Either that or I would be trying to convince someone in authority that the dog had eaten my blog post. Sure by the time I got to it, all that remained were these few potato crumbs, your honour.
Still, crumbs though they may be, they are worthy of mention.
They started out life as leftover riced potatoes, spent a bit of time in a low oven, and emerged dried, golden and crunchy. They could easily take the place of breadcrumbs if you wanted to top a savoury pie in a gluten-free way or, fried briefly in a little oil, you could sprinkle them on soup instead of croutons. You might even find yourself eating them as a snack. They will keep in a sealed container or ziploc bag in the fridge for several weeks or they can hang out in the freezer until you have something for them to do. Not bad for a few old crumbs, all the same.
So, what we have here is really no more than plain boiled potatoes which have been mashed (or preferably riced) and then dried out in the oven.
Please do remember to salt your water well when boiling spuds (I’d add around a teaspoon of salt for every 750mls of water or so) and, if you like, you can introduce more flavour by adding a couple of crushed garlic cloves and a sprig of rosemary or thyme to your boiling water. You’ll get a better-tasting crumb if you do.
- boiled or steamed potatoes, preferably floury
You’ll also need:
- Parchment paper and baking trays on which to spread your mashed potatoes
- Preheat your oven to 130C and line your baking trays with parchment paper
- Peel your boiled potatoes (if they’re not already peeled), then mash or, if you have a potato ricer, rice them – this is best done while they are still warm.
- Spread the mashed or riced potato pieces thinly on one or more lined baking trays – the smaller the individual pieces of potato the better.
- Bake the potato until dried out and the pieces have turned a light golden colour (this took around 45 minutes for me). Check after they have been in the oven for about 15 minutes and every 10-15 minutes or so thereafter, breaking any clumps up into smaller crumbs, which is easier to do once the potato has started to dry out.
- Use straightaway if you like, or cool and store in a sealed container in the fridge or freezer.
- If you want to use the crumbs directly as a garnish for a soup, then you can bake them at a higher temperature, say 150C for about 20 minutes, again checking regularly to break up clumps. The crumbs will brown more when done this way. At the end of baking, you can toss the crumbs in a tiny bit of olive oil, bake for another 5 minutes and then scatter at will.
- 150g of cooked, mashed potato should yield around 40g or so of dried potato crumbs.