Thursday, July 16, 2015

Vegetable Feature: New Potatoes

by Andrea Yoder
The potatoes in your box this week are a variety called Red Norland, an early variety red-skinned potato with creamy white flesh and this week they are classified as a “new potato.” The difference between a new potato and others we’ll deliver this season is not the variety or the size, but the way they are harvested.  New potatoes are classified as such if they are harvested off a plant that still has green leaves on it.  With latter varieties, we’ll mow the potato vines about a week in advance of harvest.  In the week between mowing the vines and actually harvesting the potatoes, changes take place in the potatoes that help to set the skins and make them better for storage.  They are also easier to handle without damaging the skin.
New potatoes have a much more thin, tender and delicate skin.  They need to be handled with care so as not to disturb the skin and expose the flesh.  Potatoes should be stored in a cool, dark place, but not in the refrigerator.  It’s important they are not exposed to light or they will turn green and be bitter.  In general, potatoes will store for a few weeks at room temperature in a brown paper bag.  However new potatoes will not store as well and are best eaten within one week. Do not store potatoes in a plastic bag or in the refrigerator.
New potatoes are tender & creamy with a fresh, pure potato flavor.  This week’s variety is a “waxy” variety.  They lend themselves well to basic boiling, roasting or pan-frying.  You could make “smashed” potatoes with them, but I’d discourage you from making mashed potatoes out of them as waxy potatoes have a tendency to become sticky when mashed.  We still have several more varieties to dig.  Check the newsletter each week to find out more information about each variety and the best ways to prepare them.

Crushed Potatoes with Cream and Garlic
Recipe sourced from Nigel Slater’s book, Tender:  A cook and his vegetable patch.
Serves 4 as a side dish
1 pound new potatoes
3 cloves fresh garlic
1 cup heavy cream
8 sprigs fresh thyme
Salt & Black Pepper, to taste

  1. Lightly scrub the potatoes but do not peel them.  Boil them in a pan of deep, lightly salted water for fifteen to twenty minutes or so, until tender.
  2. While the potatoes are boiling, peel and lightly crush the garlic cloves.  Pour the cream into a small saucepan, and add the leaves from the sprigs of thyme, the garlic, a little salt and some black pepper.  Let the mixture simmer over medium heat until it has reduced by about a third.
  3. Once the potatoes are drained, put them in a shallow dish and crush each one lightly with a fork—you want to break the skin and flatten the potato just enough for its flesh to soak up some of the hot cream.  Pour the cream and thyme over the crushed potatoes and eat while hot.

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