It's almost potato time whether you are a gardener or a cook who loves them. My grandmother swore by planting potatoes by or on St. Patrick's Day for the best crop. Then she also said potatoes loved tomatoes so the seed potatoes always went in the ground where tomatoes grew the year before.
My mother loved new potatoes particularly the little ones fresh dug, scrubbed and boiled in their jackets. They were served literally swimming in our fresh churned butter. She claimed to prefer them to birthday cake as we were starting to dig the little ones by her end of May birthday.
Now I look for ways to just enjoy that new potato taste highlighted without swimming in the butter but that delightful flavor when these little guys are cooked with their skin intact. I remember taking such pleasure in finding and scrubbing the dirt away from the tiniest potatoes for cooking. I felt as if these little ones grew just for me.
This has been and interesting year for potatoes watching new varieties appear in markets throughout the year, and several have been from local sources. These ever present root crops are distinguished by different colors, shapes and sizes. I found some great sweet potatoes recently at the Urban Agrarian Market in Oklahoma City. They have been quite good perhaps made a little better by the fact they were grown by Acadian Family Farm near Fort Cobb Lake.
Fingerling potatoes have been flavor-packed and so easy to roast or steam. I love it when the potato itself doesn't need much butter or salt to taste wonderful. Split these little fingers lengthwise a couple of times and you have a ready-to-go batch for frying or roasting. These make great smashers as well.
Think potatoes and you think baked, scalloped, french-fried, boiled, roasted and mashed: We don't usually think of smashed.
I'm not sure why I didn't think of this great little technique for finishing potatoes when my children were younger so they could help put the finishing touches on them.
Smashing is exactly how it works: The potatoes are boiled or micro-cooked in their jackets then smashed, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with a little kosher salt before a final roast.
Let me know what you think of those smashers. We love them with fresh rosemary or dill. Top them off with a little dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt if you like. I cannot remember where I picked up this idea, but these are so good. I wish I had come across it when our children were young. We would have had the pleasure of letting them do the “smash” needed for these charming little bites of potato.
Finished with a sprinkling of kosher salt and the fresh herb of your choice, they are a great accompaniment to steaks, chops and your favorite meatloaf.
Allow 2 or 3 potatoes per person depending on size of the potato.
12 new or fingerling potatoes (adjust number for size) scrubbed clean
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, sage, dill or thyme (leaves only, chopped or sliced to enhance flavor if desired)