Friday, June 26, 2009
You may not think it, but there’s as big a difference between store-bought and farmers market potatoes as there is between tomatoes. Freshly dug potatoes are still moist from the soil, and their flesh seems luminous. They have whisper-thin skin, so there’s no need to peel them. And, of course, they are intensely flavorful, tasting of the earth they came from. Try them once, and it’ll be hard to go back to the grocery store.
Here’s a recipe inspired by the beautiful potatoes at the farmers market and my favorite flavor of chips growing up.
Crème Fraîche & Chive Potato Cakes
1 pound small red new potatoes
¼ cup crème fraîche
¼ cup minced fresh chives
1 large egg
¼ cup all-purpose flour
Freshly ground black pepper
Canola oil or extra virgin olive oil, for frying
Place the potatoes into a medium pot and add enough water to cover by several inches. Add several large pinches of salt. Bring to a boil and simmer for 12 to 14 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked through. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the potatoes to a bowl. Lightly mash the potatoes and let cool slightly. Stir in the crème fraîche, chives, egg, and flour and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Add enough oil to a large, heavy frying pan to come to a depth of ¼ inch. Heat over medium heat until a bit of the potato mixture sizzles immediately when added. Scoop the mixture into the pan by the ¼ cup, spacing the cakes a couple of inches apart. Flatten each pancake slightly with a spatula and fry without disturbing for 3 to 4 minutes, or until golden brown. Using a spatula, turn the pancakes and fry another 2 to 3 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate and immediately season to taste with salt. Fry the remaining potato mixture in the same manner. Transfer to a platter and serve immediately.
Serves 4. These potato cakes have a crunchy crust and tender, creamy center.