The Heart of New England ... Click Here to Subscribe Today (It's FREE!)
Salt Roasted Fingerling Potatoes
By Charlie Burke

Click here for printer-friendly version of this recipe

This year we decided to grow potatoes, and I had heard from an old farmer that,
if you plant them late, the potato beetles have already staked out their territory
and will not bother the late planted patch. The seed potatoes arrived in April,
but I left them in the box until June. I exposed them to light for over a week to
“green sprout” the tubers and planted them the last week in June. Letting the
sprouts start before planting gives them a head start so that they grow quickly
and are less prone to disease and pests. We planted Yukon Gold and Caribe, a
purple skinned variety, for ourselves and Banana and Rose Finn Apple for a
restaurant. We got moderate yields from the first two varieties, poor yield from
the Rose Finn, and an excellent crop of the medium sized Banana fingerlings.

We did not see a single potato beetle, proving the old potato farmer to be
correct, but a large number of very small tubers indicated that the later planting
date will yield fewer usable potatoes. Since we needed no BT or, more
importantly, avoided the aggravation of looking for eggs and hand picking
larvae and beetles, I’ll take the trade-off any time.

The other alternative for organically growing potatoes is to cover the rows with
Dacron row cover immediately after planting and leaving the covers on for the
entire growing season. Because potato flowers do not require pollination for
tubers to develop, there is no need to remove the covers. So, if those miserable
potato beetles have deterred your growing potatoes, give these methods a
chance – there is no beating the flavor of newly dug potatoes, and kids (and
grown-ups) love the “treasure hunt” at harvest time.

This past Sunday we had dinner at Carpaccio, Ristorante Italiano in Hanover,
New Hampshire. Chef Giovanni Leopardi had purchased our entire crop of
fingerlings, and Joanne had a wonderful marinated grilled wild salmon fillet,
accompanied by our potatoes which had been roasted in salt and a small
amount of olive oil. Giovanni’s meticulous attention to detail resulted in
perfectly roasted little potatoes with the buttery flavor of new potato, accented
by light saltiness and a hint of extra virgin olive oil – a perfect example of “less
is more” when cooking fresh local ingredients.

Today I called Giovanni, and he kindly gave me his recipe. We cooked a few
that we had kept, and, although my version did not quite reach Giovanni’s, they
were the best roasted potatoes I’ve made.

Four servings:

1 pound fingerling potatoes, washed but not peeled (if fingerlings are
unavailable, use best quality new potatoes cut into 1-2 inch pieces)
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons coarse kosher or sea salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground white or black pepper

Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. Put potatoes into the pot and boil for 10
minutes (15 minutes if fingerlings are large or if using cut potatoes). Drain and
plunge into a bowl of iced water to “shock” the potatoes.

Drain the potatoes in a strainer. Put olive oil, salt and ground pepper into a
bowl and mix with a whisk or a fork. Add the potatoes and toss until all are
coated with the oil mixture and lift back into the strainer to let excess oil drain;
some salt and ground pepper will remain in the oil.

Place potatoes into a shallow roasting pan sufficiently large to accommodate the
potatoes in one layer. Roast in a preheated 450 degree oven for 10-15 minutes
until the potatoes offer slight resistance to the point of a knife.

These potatoes are a great example of elemental cooking – choosing great fresh
vegetables and preparing them with minimal complementary ingredients. With
fish or mild meats, I would serve them as described above. With lamb or more
robust dishes, such as braised beef, I would add a tablespoon of chopped fresh
rosemary and one or two chopped cloves of garlic to the roasting pan.

Now is the time to go to your local farm stand or Farmers Market to get freshly
dug potatoes. Treat your family or guests to these roasted potatoes which are as
superior supermarket potatoes as are heirloom tomatoes to their indestructible
industrial impostors.

About the author:  An organic farmer and avid cook, writer Charlie Burke is the vice
president of the
New Hampshire Farmer's Market Association, president of the NH Farm
to Restaurant Connection and helps run the Sanbornton (NH) Farmers' Market.  Along
with his wife, Joanne, Charlie grows certified organic herbs, greens and berries at Weather
Hill Farm in Sanbornton, NH.  
The Heart of New England
Celebrating the unique character & culture of Maine ~ New Hampshire ~ Vermont
©The Heart of New England online magazine
...celebrating the unique character & culture of Maine, New Hampshire & Vermont!
Contact| The Heart of New England HOME | Search

Click Here to Get Your FREE Weekly Newsletter Today!
Join us on
FaceBook or
for exclusive updates,
travel specials,
& more!

Get 100+ New England
Main Meal Recipes in an
Easy to Use E-Cookbook!

Click here for your FREE
weekly newsletter!

Bring the heart of
New England into your
home with affordable,
New England prints.
Visit our
Art Gallery

Click here for
More Recipes!