Friday, August 6, 2010

Homegrown

I am home with a bundle of mixed emotions about being back but I am slowly settling in.  One of the major benefits of being away for more than a few months is that when you come back, you really do see things in a different way.  When you spend every day looking at a skirting board which is falling off or an old set of curtains, you start to filter out these nasty things.  I am back now with a fresh eye and a long list of things to do!

I did however come back to the great surprise that my potato plants did not die while I was away.  Left forgotten, save for the scant attention of intermittent family lodgers, I harvested about a quarter of my crop the minute I got home.  Now they are like little marbles but there is such satisfaction that something actually grew in my seemingly unproductive garden!



I had a request a couple of weeks ago from my friend who had just harvested her potatoes, although given her proximity to green fingers, I cannot believe that hers were as marble-like as mine.  Anyway she requested a recipe for small potatoes!
I made some simple parslied potatoes which you can dress up further to make a simple potato salad or eat warm on their own maybe with little strips of slightly warmed Iberico ham.
Firstly grade your potatoes picking out the small bite-size ones so that they are all roughly the same size.  Peel them (somewhat time consuming when they are so small, but they will absorb more flavour if they are peeled).  Add them to a large saucepan of heavily salted (salty to the taste), boiling water, cook at a simmer for 6-8 minutes (depending on the size), until they are tender to the point of  a knife.
Drain well and set aside to prepare the parsley.


Use fresh flat leafed parsley chopped coarsely.  It is important to chop this up just before you need it as you will loose some of the moistness and aroma if it is left sitting for too long.


Add some good quality extra virgin olive oil and the chopped parsley.  When the potatoes have drained and when the steam has died down, place them gently into the oily parsley and turn gently with a spoon, coating the potatoes.  Then cover with cling film for a few minutes to infuse the potatoes fully with the parsley flavour.



Take off the cling film and let the potatoes cool a little more so that they are just warm.  Gently stir in a few tablespoons of white wine vinegar and a little sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Toss gently and serve.
There are any number of additions that you can experiment with here or you can simply leave them alone.  I added some fine strips of roasted red pepper and a scant crumbling of feta which was really good.  The potatoes have a slight floury texture to the outside which traps the flavours but they had a firm texture inside which is perfect for salads.


Now it is back to a grey-skied reality after my long and delightful holiday ... the cogs keep turning and life goes slowly on.

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