Friday, 26 September 2014

Salt & Vinegar potatos

As a kid I could not get the grown ups' fuss over the new harvest potatos and their idea of summery lunch. When ever I would ask "what's for lunch?" I would get told "ah, but we have those new potatos! And dill! And butter!" I couldn't understand what was so great about those -  I mean, we had potatos and butter in the fridge all year round!

And though the turmoil that was my teenage years led me to believe adults were daft and just didn't get stuff (oh the timeless elegance of fundamentalism of adolescence! I would, however, like to point out that occasionally there were other, more pressing issues behind the angst than just potatos, mind you...) I can see that a quarter of a century has done its job. More often than I care to count I found myself sighing joyously over the summer, uttering those very words "aaah, we have new potatos! And dill! And butter!"

But the sunny moments of starchy happiness have not been entirely without dark clouds. More than once I found myself bringing haplessly home bags labelled as "new harvest potatos". Small there were sure, and covered in soil. But the taste just wasn't there. See, even the scent they emit when being boiled is something very particular (oh my freaking God - have I actually become a potato fanatic?!) and the taste... something worth the months-long wait. These on the other hand had neither. I was shocked. And braced myself for the evening papers' exposé on the shameless spud scam. But no. Then siikli (ok, so I might be a bit of  potato buff), the Rolls Royce of the potato varieties (think of it as a Finnish equivalent of Jersey Royals) hit the shelves. Oh yeah. Now that's what I'm talking about!

Even though the consumption got totally out of hands this summer, I still couldn't get enough. We've been having them on their own, with herring and in salads. But these crunchy salt & vinegar potatos I picked up on Bon Appetit sounded so tempting I just had to give them a go. Anything reminiscent of a proper English pub must be good, right?

They got just about the most highly sought after nod of approval (right after Queen Elizabeth II and Hyacinth Bucket, of course) from my British Brother who turned up for Sunday lunch. He actually took everything that was left to go.

As a side this is enough for 4-6

1 kg new harvest potatos
2,5 dl strong vinegar (+ 2 tbsp for serving)
1 tbsp salt
2 tbsp butter
freshly ground black pepper

to serve: 

2 tbsp finely chopped fresh chives (rosemary and dill work well, too!)
fleur de sel

Rinse the potatos and, if on the large side, cut into quarters. Combine in a pot with salt and vinegar. Add enough water to cover the potatos by a couple of cm. Bring to boil, then reduce heat and cook over medium heat until potatos are done. Drain and steam until dry.

Heat butter in a large frying pan over medium heat (you don't want it to burn). Add potatos  and season with salt and pepper. Fry, shaking every now and then, until golden and crunchy (8-10 minutes). Drizzle with the remaining vinegar and serve with chives and a pinch of fleur de sel. 

Oh, and what else did we have? Well, practically-raw-food-vegan-cashew-sauce-just-about-to-die-for and some persillade-crust lamb chops! Recipes for these in the following posts! Oh, you're in for some serious treats...!




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