© 2023 WYPR
WYPR 88.1 FM Baltimore WYPF 88.1 FM Frederick WYPO 106.9 FM Ocean City
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Potatoes in winter

"There was a deep little hollow where you could build a sort of tiny oven with stones and roast potatoes and eggs in it. ... You could buy both potatoes and eggs and eat as many as you liked without feeling as if you were taking food out of the mouths of fourteen people." (<em>The Secret Garden</em> by Frances Hodgson Burnett)
"There was a deep little hollow where you could build a sort of tiny oven with stones and roast potatoes and eggs in it. ... You could buy both potatoes and eggs and eat as many as you liked without feeling as if you were taking food out of the mouths of fourteen people." (The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett)

Part of the hearty approach to eating in winter is tucking into all manner of potatoes. Baked, roasted, mashed, worked into stews or fried up for breakfast, the possibilities go on and on. Chef Jerry Pellegrino has taught us, sometimes it's a matter of matching up the right kind of potato for the right dish.

Potatoes are a staple ingredient in many recipes, but did you know that not all potatoes are alike? There are actually two general types: waxy and starchy. Both are good for different dishes and knowing which type to use will make all the difference in achieving the fluffiest mashed potatoes and the perfect potato salad.

Waxy Potatoes

These include small and large, red-skinned potatoes, blue, purple and fingerling potatoes. They are low in starch and high in moisture and sugar. These potatoes are usually small and round in shape, although some varieties can be bigger.

Waxy potatoes are good for boiling because they hold their shape well, and their firm yet creamy texture makes perfect potato salads!

Starchy Potatoes

Russet, Idaho and Yukon gold potatoes are starchy and great for baking, mashing and deep-frying. Their high-starch content produces an even colour when frying and their starch granules swell as they boil for the fluffiest mashed potatoes every time.

Note: Yukon gold potatoes are lower in starch than other baking potatoes, making them a very good all-purpose potato.

Here are some recipe ideas that Jerry wants you to try.

Potatoes, Bacon & Onions


2 lbs. of assorted baby potatoes

8 oz. Applewood smoked bacon

1 large yellow onion, cut into ¼ inch half moons

Salt & Pepper

In a large cast iron skillet set over medium heat, cook the bacon until it starts to brown on the edges. Add the onions and cook until they are soft and translucent. Quarter the potatoes and add them to the. skillet. Toss in the bacon and onion mixture, season with salt and pepper and roast in a 350°F oven until fork tender and brown on the edges, turn once or twice while cooking. Serve hot.

Potato Salad


1 ½ lbs. red potatoes, cut into ½ inch - 1 inch cubes

½ cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons sour cream

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

4 tablespoons dried mustard

3 large hard-boiled eggs, cut into cubes

4 strips thick sliced smoked bacon cooked until crispy

2 green onions, sliced

¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped

salt & freshly ground black pepper

Gently boil the potatoes until just tender. Drain well and cool to room temperature.

Place the mayonnaise, sour cream, vinegar and dried mustard in large salad bowl and whisk to combine. Add the potatoes and remaining ingredients and toss to combine.

Cover and refrigerate salad until ready to serve.

Warm Potato Salad


½ cup white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon coarse-grained mustard

1 tablespoon sugar

2 ½ pounds red potatoes, diced into 1-inch cubes

6 bacon slices, chopped

1 medium sized red onion, diced

¼ cup freshly chopped parsley leaves, plus more for garnish

Add potatoes to pot of salted cold water. Bring to a boil, over high heat, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes until tender. Drain and place in a large bowl. Cover with foil to keep warm, if necessary. Add bacon to large sauté pan and cook until crisp over medium heat. Add the red onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the vinegar, sugar and mustard and stir well to combine. Bring to a boil and cook an additional 2 minutes. Pour the hot dressing over the potatoes, add the parsley, season with salt and pepper and toss to combine. Serve warm with parsley garnish.

Al Spoler, well known to WYPR listeners as the wine-loving co-host of "Cellar Notes" has had a long-standing parallel interest in cooking as well. Al has said, the moment he started getting serious about Sunday night dinners was the same moment he started getting serious about wine. Over the years, he has benefited greatly from being a member of the Cork and Fork Society of Baltimore, a gentlemen's dining club that serves black tie meals cooked by the members themselves who are some of Baltimore's most accomplished amateur cooks.
Executive Chef Jerry Pellegrino of Corks restaurant is fascinated by food and wine, and the way they work in harmony on the palate. His understanding of the two goes all the way to the molecular level, drawing on his advanced education in molecular biology. His cuisine is simple and surprising, pairing unexpected ingredients together to work with Corks' extensive wine offerings.