I ran into a very nice woman and dog the other day and we walked around the fields and talked. She’s a good cook and, when I told her I grow potatoes, she asked “what do you do with potatoes?” (with her expression implying “why on earth would anyone want to eat potatoes…”)
I sheepishly told her, “well I like to make French fries…..” Then I thought it best to change the subject.
But I do enjoy cooking with potatoes.
In early summer, when I first dig small handfuls of new potatoes, I boil them briefly, chop, toss with olive oil or mayonnaise and herbs, and then serve as a very simple potato salad on greens with fresh peas.
Later we roast new fingerlings on the grill. Parboil no more than 4 minutes, toss with olive oil and rosemary, and then roast on a metal roasting tray. Yummy with a nice local grilled fish, fowl or meat.
And once the summer squash is coming out of your ears, I layer big white potatoes and sweet yellow squash in a casserole with onions, mild cheese and bread crumbs. This one goes best with a chardonnay and a big bouquet of garden roses. (I can’t wait for summer….)
In the fall, when big baskets of crisp round tubers have been dug, there are my husband’s favorites, fluffy baked Russets and pan-fried potatoes for breakfast with onions and peppers.
Unfortunately there is winter too. I didn’t grow enough garden potatoes myself to last past fall, but I bought bags of beautiful spuds grown at our local CSA farm. (BTW: Why do these taste so much fresher and crispier and more flavorful than store bought? I can’t figure this one out. Are the store bought ones last year’s? Were they stored in an oven?) Anyway, I’ve been using these potatoes in warm soups. On New Year’s Day we enjoyed potato pancakes with breakfast. And again I’m working to perfect my French fries. Photos and recipes of these winter versions of potatoes are here:
Potato pancakes (recipe from The Victory Garden Cookbook by Marion Morash)
1/2 lb potatoes (about 5), peeled and grated
1 egg, beaten
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbs flour
1/4 cup grated onion
1 Tbs cream
olive oil for frying
Squeeze potatoes dry in a towel. Mix with egg all ingredients except oil. Heat oil to cover bottom of frying pan. Add potato mix and flatten it on pan. Fry about 3-5 minutes per side or until well browned. Serve hot.
French Fried potatoes (and other roots):
(I have a nice new fryer with a thermostat that’s very nice for fries. The important thing is not to overload it. Small batches work best.)
Potatoes: wash and slice potatoes, and then rinse and dry with a towel. Fry 3 min in preheated vegetable oil at 340*F. Drain and cool. Heat oil to 375*F. Fry until browned (2-4 min). Drain and serve immediately. With sea salt…
Carrots, parsnips or beets: Wash, peel and slice. Heat oil to 375*F. Fry until browned (2-4 min). Drain and serve immediately. With sea salt…