This summer is just flying by! I can’t believe we are already on Week 5 of our CSA – Community Supported Agriculture program. This week’s shares from our local farm, Upswing Farm, included one of my very favorite vegetables – new potatoes.
What are new potatoes?
New potatoes are, well, new! They are the first, early harvest of a potato crop, and growing up these types of potatoes were always a treat and a sign that school was out for summer and the fun was kicking into high gear. Since all the produce I ate growing up came from a farmer’s market, these new potatoes were available for couple of weeks only, making them even more special!!! Another thing that makes them special is that they are sweater than fully grown spuds, and that’s because they have higher sugar content than mature spuds, where most of their sugar has been converted into starch and stored away.
How to skin new potatoes?
New potatoes have very soft skin, and they really don’t need much peeling. What I like to do is take a peeling knife and gently go over the surface of the potato to remove only the thin outer skin without cutting in. This also helps remove any specks of dirt that are left over after the washing. An alternative way of skinning new potatoes is to place washed potatoes on a kitchen towel, sprinkle with some kosher salt and then wrap and gently roll. This will serve to exfoliate the potatoes. It may not remove all the skin but it will get rid of most of it. However, I should point out that none of this is really needed and it I purely cosmetic. New potatoes have such a soft and thin skin that you may decide to just leave it and cook them as is!
What to do with new potatoes?
These little suds are very versatile and easy to deal with. Because they are nicely sweet and soft, it is best to let them shine through. Simple boiling, roasting, or pan frying in very little oil will give you really great results (see here for details). But, you can go as wild as you like and new potatoes can be made into a potato salad, or a potato mash. Although I have not tried this yet, you can also put your new potatoes on the grill. In the recipe below I decided to go a bit wild and over the top. I baked new potatoes with some spring onions – those onions that are in between scallions and onions, with their greens still on but with a nice onion bulb now fully formed, which also came in our CSA share, and then topped them with an amazing sauce.
Easy and cheesy basil sauce
The inspiration for the sauce was another ingredient that came home in this week’s CSA share – a large bunch of fresh basil. The sauce is a simple mix of fresh basil, nutritional yeast and olive oil, and is added to the baked potatoes at the very end. The freshness of basil and the cheesy flavors of nutritional yeast make these baked new potatoes really amazing! I could eat this dish all day long – it does not need anything else really other than a cold glass of lemonade and it tastes good hot as well as cold. And if you have a summer pot luck, or a back yard barbecue, this is a great alternative to an old fashioned potato salad that you may want to try.
Baked New Potatoes with Cheesy Basil Sauce
What you’ll need:
1.5 to 2 lb (750g to 1 kg) new potatoes
4 spring onions, roughly diced
1 large bunch of fresh basil (about 2-3 cups, leaves only)
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Kosher salt to taste
What you’ll do:
- Preheat the oven to 350 F (175 C).
- Wash the new potatoes and gently remove their outermost skin (or leave the skin on if you prefer). Slice them into 1/4 in (5 mm) thick slices. If your new potatoes are really tiny you may only need to half them, or even leave the intact.
- Slice your spring onions any way you like. I quartered my bulbs then sliced them across.
- Combine your potatoes, spring onions, a pinch of salt (the amount of salt is up to you!) and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Mix well, then pour into a deep baking dish.
- Bake the potatoes for 45 minutes.
- Place the basil into a food processor that can comfortably hold this amount of basil. Pulse until the basil is finely chopped.
- Add nutritional yeast, and pulse 2-3 times. Then pour in oil gradually while pulsing. Pour the sauce over the hot potatoes, mix well and return to the oven for another 15 minutes.
- Serve hot! You can store the leftovers in a fridge for 5-7 days and enjoy cold or reheated.
Copyright © Eat the Vegan Rainbow, 2018