Read this cookbook: “Smashed, Mashed, Boiled, And Baked—And Fried, Too: A Celebration of Potatoes in 75 Irresistible Recipes” by Raghavan Iyer. (Workman, $16.95)
By Wendell Brock
Raghavan Iyer is a self-professed potato addict.
As he explains in his new cookbook, his obsession started as a tot, the moment he was weaned off milk. His Indian mother fed him a smash of buttery spuds perked up with herbs, spices and roasted lentils. Or she fried chips in salted oil and served them as a snack.
Perhaps it was just a matter of time before the Mumbai-born, Minneapolis-based chef, author and cooking instructor turned his attention to taters — every way, every method, every imaginable global influence.
If you are the kind of person who could eat spuds for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Iyer — who won a 2016 James Beard Award for his online video series “Indian Curries: The Basics & Beyond” — has got you covered.
While including all the basics, from mashed potatoes and French fries to potato salads and gratins, he delivers many surprises and twists, too.
Llapingachos are Ecuadorian Filled Potato Cakes with Peanut Sauce. Burning Love is Danish Mashed Potatoes with Onions and Pork Belly. Dutch Lettuce is essentially warm German potato salad mixed with torn salad greens.
One dish that caught my eye is Kung Pao Potatoes, a stir fry of French-fried potatoes, peanuts, chiles and ginger, doused in sweet chili sauce. Iyer even riffs on the Cuban Mojito cocktail by concocting potato salad with mint, white rum and pomegranate seeds. (Tipsy taters!)
Taking care to incorporate up-and-coming varieties of colorful potatoes and even sweet potatoes (which aren’t technically a potato), Iyer ends his 75-recipe ode to tubers with sweets.
Yes, you can dip potato crisps in dark chocolate. (I’ve foolishly bought them at Neiman-Marcus.)
If you, like Iyer and me, are hopeless potato-holics, this book is your new best friend and enabler extraordinaire. Are you ready to get fried? Would you liked to get smashed?
6:30 p.m. Jan. 20: Iyer cooks from his book and tapes a segment of the radio show “Chef and the Fatman” at the Big Green Egg Culinary Center, 3786 DeKalb Tech Parkway, Atlanta. 770-934-5300. $45.
11 a.m. Jan 21: He’ll teach a class at Cook’s Warehouse in Midtown, 1544 Piedmont Ave., Suite 403-R. 800-499-0996. $59.
Wendell Brock is an Atlanta food and culture writer, frequent AJC contributor and the winner of a 2016 James Beard Foundation Award for journalism. Follow him on Twitter (@MrBrock) and Instagram (@WendellDavidBrock).