Thursday, September 8, 2016

Vegetable Feature: Potatoes

By Chef Andrea
     Last week we finished this year’s potato harvest and as the rain falls again today, I’m very thankful our precious potatoes are safely tucked away in the cooler. Even though this year has been a bit on the wet side, we are pleased to tell you it was a bountiful harvest and the potatoes look very nice!
     This year we grew five different varieties. It’s important to understand the qualities of each type of potato variety as it will help you decide how to use them. Potatoes are classified as either waxy or starchy potatoes. This classification is based on the type of starch the potato has. Starch is a stored form of energy and is the whole reason the plant produces a potato. Waxy potatoes are more moist and creamy. They hold their shape after they are cooked which makes them good candidates for roasting, potato salads and soups where you want the potato to hold its shape. These are not good for making mashed potatoes as they get too sticky and are kind of like wallpaper paste. Starchy potatoes are more dry and fluffy when cooked. They don’t hold together as well, which makes them a good candidate for a soup where you might want to use the starch as the component that will thicken the soup. This is also the best type of potato to use for making fluffy, smooth mashed potatoes.
     This week you are receiving Purple Viking potatoes. This is kind of an all-purpose potato that sits on the fence between the two classes. It is waxy enough that it holds its shape well, but it also has enough of that dry, starchy characteristic that you can get away with making mashed potatoes with this variety, and they make an excellent soup. Purple Viking potatoes are characterized by their purple and pink skin with white flesh. This is one of our favorite potato varieties.
     Potatoes are a versatile food and can be prepared in many different ways. You can enjoy them roasted, boiled, baked, pan-fried, deep-fried, in soups, gratins or even breads and rolls. Potatoes pair well with any kind of dairy—cream, cheese, milk or sour cream. They also pair well with other vegetables in summer and fall including tomatoes, peppers, onions, garlic, winter squash and many root vegetables.
     Potatoes are best stored in a cool, dark, dry place at about 50-55°F. If exposed to light, the potato will produce solanine which is a bitter alkaloid that gives the exposed portion of the potato a green color. If you see this on potato, trim that portion of the potato away.

Potato Cakes with Goat Cheese

1 pound starchy potatoes, roughly grated
1 small onion, roughly grated
1 small carrot, roughly grated
1 egg, lightly beaten
3 Tbsp flour
1 oz goat cheese, mashed with a fork
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 Tbsp high heat sunflower oil

1.  Preheat the oven to 350´̊F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2.  Mix everything except the oil together in a bowl and season really well with salt and pepper.
3.  Heat the oil in a large frying pan, drop double teaspoonfuls of the mixture into the pan, and fry them for 2 minutes. Carefully flip them over and fry on the other side until golden.
4.  Pop the potato cakes on the prepared baking sheet and finish cooking them through in the oven—they should take 5-10 minutes.

HVF Note:  The original recipe states this recipe yields 2 servings if served as a side dish, however we felt like it served more like 4-5 as a side dish.  Also, these are tasty served as is or with a little more fresh goat cheese spread on top while still warm.

Recipe borrowed from Mamushka: A Cookbook by Olia Hercules

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