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Desiree potatoes are large, elongated tubers with an oval to cylindrical shape. The skin is smooth, semi-glossy, and bright red, bearing a few, very shallow eyes. Underneath the surface, the flesh is yellow, dense, and low in moisture, creating a firm consistency. When cooked, Desiree potatoes exhibit both waxy, starchy, and floury characteristics, being classified as an all-purpose potato, and have a tender texture with a neutral, rich, and earthy flavor.
Desiree potatoes are available in the late summer through winter.
Desiree potatoes, botanically classified as Solanum tuberosum, are a maincrop variety that belongs to the Solanaceae or nightshade family. Created in the mid-20th century in the Netherlands, Desiree potatoes were developed for their resistance to disease and were highly favored in the Dutch consumer market for their rich, earthy flavor. With increased popularity, the variety has spread across Europe in the modern-day and has become commercially successful in the United Kingdom and also in Italy. Desiree potatoes are considered a general table variety that can be used in a wide range of everyday culinary applications.
Desiree potatoes are an excellent source of potassium, which is a mineral that can help regulate fluid levels in the body and vitamin C, which is an antioxidant that can strengthen the immune system. The tubers are also a good source of phosphorus, vitamin B6, calcium, and contain magnesium and vitamin A.
Desiree potatoes are best suited for cooked applications such as roasting, baking, and boiling. The tubers can be prepared and mashed as a side dish, sliced and roasted into wedges, or cubed and sautéed to develop a crispy exterior. Desiree potatoes can also be tossed into soups and stews, stirred into savory sauces, baked into bread, or cooked with eggs in a hash. In Europe, Desiree potatoes are popularly sliced and slow-cooked with garlic, cheese, and cream in dauphinoise potatoes, which is a French cooking style. The tubers are also used in variations of chowders and are kneaded into quartered flatbreads known as farls for use in sandwiches. Desiree potatoes pair well with spices such as rosemary, coriander, oregano, and thyme, meats such as beef, pork, poultry, lamb, and fish, cheeses such as parmesan, gruyere, and cheddar, red onions, bell peppers, carrots, and celery. The tubers will keep 1-3 months when properly stored in a cool, dry, and dark place.
In Italy, Desiree potatoes are known under the name Patata Rossa di Colfiorito and have become one of the most popular red-skinned varieties within Italian cooking. First introduced to the region of Umbria in the early 1970s, Desiree potatoes adapted well to the region, especially on the Colfiorito plain, and were highly cultivated for their versatility and quality flavor. The tubers grown in Colfiorito became so widely known across Central Italy for their distinct flavor that they were also granted a Protected Geographical Indication status in 1998 by the European Union. Each August, Colfiorito holds the Patata Rossa di Colfiorito Fair, which celebrates the economically significant variety with live entertainment, demonstrations, contests, and food vendors showcasing the red tuber. The fair has been running since 1978, and some of the signature food dishes include Desiree potato skins filled with local ingredients, potato donuts, and hand-made gnocchi for use in stews and ragus.
Desiree potatoes were created in 1951 through ZPC seed, which is a company based in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands. The variety is a cross between depesche and urgenta potatoes and was officially released in 1962. Today Desiree potatoes are widely found at markets and specialty grocers across Europe, especially in the United Kingdom and Italy, and have also established a strong presence through growers in Australia. In the United States, the variety is found on a smaller scale through home gardeners.
Recipes that include Desiree Potatoes. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Good Housekeeping||Duchess Potatoes|
|House & Garden||Roast Potatoes Cooked in Olive Oil, Garlic, and Rosemary|
|Taste||Cheesy Mash - Topped Meatloaf|