To capture the hearts of today’s diners, every aspect of the plate has to entice with flavor and texture. “We’ve been working with operators and chain chefs to modernize their side-dish potato selections and add unique combinations of ingredients to potatoes so they can stand up to a spicy protein like this trending hot chicken,” says Don Odiorne, VP of Foodservice for the Idaho Potato Commission.
“There is no reason potato side dishes should only call out baked, mashed and fries. How can you differentiate yourself from a competitor if everything potato is the same?”
Trey Cioccia, Executive Chef of The Farm House in Nashville, Tenn., created his take on Nashville hot chicken, making sure all elements on the plate tell a compelling flavor story. His hot chicken, crisp and fiery, sits on a bed of biscuit purée and warm potato salad. It’s then topped with pickled kohlrabi and candied fried chicken skins.
“The warm potato salad is a variation of a German potato salad, but with smoked vinegar, French-inspired fines herbes and shallots, along with the added texture of a grainy mustard,” says Odiorne. “Small potatoes, such as this medley of fingerlings, are easy to portion, don’t have to be peeled, and each color has a distinctive flavor with nice earthy undertones and a crispiness that offsets the comfort of the homemade biscuit purée.”
The sum is even greater than its parts. “Imagine a taste of hot spicy chicken, the slightly tart potatoes and the sweetness of the candied chicken skins in one bite—heaven and hell on a fork,” he says.
Other ideas abound, including a move to breakfast by switching out the chicken for ham and eggs. As an appetizer, adds Odiorne, use a smaller portion of Buffalo-spiced chicken, maybe with a soft cheese, or sub in beef short ribs.