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New Potatoes

June 15, 2012

Now that some of the potatoes are starting to come on, I feel safe telling you all what a strange start to the season it has been already! The muggy, cloudy, rain-free days do nothing for our garden plots, and as a farmer friend says of his own plots… the veggies are just “stuck” this spring. No rains to help the leafy greens along, and no sun to push the squashes and beans past their vulnerable young stage. Weeks in the ground with no growth have caused some of the broccoli and cauliflower to bolt prematurely, and we’ve already tilled in some of the hail-damaged crops at the DeLancelloti plot and replanted with beans and beets that are just now emerging.

But the forecast this week looks great, and I’m confident that we’ll see some good growth yet!

But what is the significance of the new potatoes? For me, when the new potatoes are ready to harvest, I feel like the farm is ‘safe’, and that the rest of the garden will follow soon. Maybe it’s a primal gut feeling that there will be enough food to eat and that even if the beans are weeks away, these sweet little potatoes will fill the dinner table.

Anyway… this Christmas, Jon’s sister gave me a cookbook from her CSA in England, called Riverford Farm. (I love that our friends and families in far away places have joined local CSAs, too!) Now, the Brits are not known for their cuisine, that’s for sure… but they ARE known for being some of the best cool weather gardeners in the world. And this recipe book is true to the spirit of cooking things straight from the garden. I’m in love with it, and I’m going to shamelessly steal recipes from it to post here. So, today, in celebration of the new potatoes….

New Potatoes Baked in Parchment

6 or 7 small new potatoes, scrubbed but not peeled (if the potatoes are large, cut them in half).

3 garlic cloves (green garlic can also be used)

leaves from a sprig of rosemary or a few sprigs of thyme or summer savory, chopped

1 tbsp olive oil

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

Place the potatoes in a bowl with the garlic, herbs and olive oil. Season well and toss so they are coated in the oil and seasonings.

Cut a square of baking parchment large enough to hold the potatoes comfortably and fold in half to make a crease. Unfold it and lay the potatoes on the lower half. Bring the rest of the paper over the potatoes and roll it up lightly along the edges to form a pouch. Make sure that the package is well sealed. (You can staple it, if you like).

Bake in a preheated oven to 400 degrees F (yep! I had to do the conversion!) for 40 minutes and serve immediately. The package will puff up. Put them on serving plates so everyone can open theirs at the table.

 

** this recipe is adapted from one used to bake fish in parchment, which i think is a genius idea. Try throwing your fennel fronds in there!

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