Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Taste The Tater Rainbow

I've grown potatoes for years.  I'm not sure how many; I started gardening the summer I was pregnant with DD2 (so, 1997), and the garden grew and grew from there. I guess you could say this year will be my gardening 20th anniversary.

Potatoes may have been in that first garden, or they might not have shown up until a year or two later.  Point being, I'm pretty experienced at growing potatoes.

Potatoes are a staple of the American diet,  They can be boiled, baked, roasted, fried, mashed, scalloped. . . They are very versatile.  They also take fairly easily to seasoning.  And, in my opinion, they also taste decent raw.  A fond childhood memory is of eating, raw, the littlest potatoes from my grandparents' garden. Bite-sized snacks, as it were.

Despite this appreciation for, and experience with growing potatoes, it wasn't until a few years ago that I discovered fingering potatoes.  These skinny little potato morsels are awesome roasted.  A little oil, a little sea salt, your favorite herbs, a bit of time in a hot oven and you have something delicious to accompany just about any cut of meat.  Or, let's be truthful, as a nice hot snack on a winter's day.

Not only are they tasty and easy to prepare, they are easy to grow.  And prolific. I started with a few pounds of seed potatoes a couple of years ago, and I currently have over a bushel of the buggers--uh, I mean, fingering potatoes--still in my cellar from the 2016 harvest.  My 'normal' potatoes are just about gone; down to the amount I am zealously guarding as my seed stock for 2017, but I have lots and lots of fingerings left.

So far, I've grown three varieties of fingerings: Papa Cacho, Rose Finn Apple, and Yellow Finn.  A deep red skin with reddish flesh, a pale pink skin with white flesh, and a buttery yellow skin with yellow flesh.  Each with a slightly different flavor.

Last year, on impulse, I picked up a sad looking little bag of purple potato seed on clearance at the farm store.  I was quite surprised when those emaciated, unsprouted little potatoes actually grew after I planted them.  I don't remember the name now, but they are a very dark, almost black skinned little round potato with purple-streaked flesh.  I didn't get a huge yield of those (but then again, I had six 'seeds' to start with), and am saving about 75% for this year's seed.

A favorite dish this winter has become fingering and purple potatoes, mixed together into a potato rainbow of sorts, seasoned with rosemary, thyme, sea salt, garlic powder, black pepper and olive oil, and roasted in the oven until tender (roughly 40-45 min at about 400 degrees).

You know, once you get a taste of something other than your standard baking or mashing potato--the ones with the brown, white or red skins--and branch out into other potato types, it could become kind of an addiction.  I mean, not only do I have these four 'weird' varieties of potato in my cellar waiting to be planted in the Spring, I've also ordered a few more varieties to try this year.  What can I say?  Food doesn't have to be boring.  Nor does it have to be full of fat to be tasty.

Taste the tater rainbow.  You'll like it.

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