I should not have had to travel five hundred miles to find them, but there they were, a few onion-netted bags of them, tossed alongside the other potatoes I had come to purchase. Scott and I had stopped at a supermarket in Freeport, Maine, on our way home from vacation last month, specifically so I could find the famous Maine potato I coveted for inclusion in a recipe for New England clam chowder. I got my five-pound bag of local round whites, but I also got my bag of baby blues.
You wouldn’t think much to look at them; they are homey and homely like most spuds. But these aren’t ordinary spuds; these bumpkins, each small enough to hide in my clenched fist, are the sapphires in the crown of the nightshade family. Cut them, and they will bleed blue much the same way a beetroot bleeds magenta, revealing a flesh of deep and daring violet-indigo glistening with the sweat of its own dye.
A novelty, to be sure, blue potatoes are not as much a rarity in produce departments as they used to be. Yet they have eluded me for years. Cipolline onions, I could get my hands on; bizarre, robotic green cauliflower, I snatched up months ago; but not those little blue baubles. The stars must have been aligned in the sky just right that evening. Call it karma.
And karma calls for a celebration. These potatoes are too special to serve casually and quickly after a hard day at work, when all you want to do is feed yourself and flop in front of the TV. No, they are too festive and dramatic for that, but they are ideal for a great occasion, a Sunday dinner, a birthday, an anniversary, perhaps. Yes, an anniversary.
Weekend Herb Blogging, conceived by Kalyn Denny of Kalyn’s Kitchen, is celebrating its second anniversary this week. There are so many bells, and whistles and fireworks, you’d think it was the Fourth of July. Favorite vegetables enhanced with favorite herbs have been called in from the virtual caterers. Blue potatoes are made to order.
I never met a potato I didn’t like, particularly split and slicked with olive oil and scattered with rosemary and salt. As fate would have it, I actually found a recipe for the seasoning in an old post written by the hostess of honor. Now, just what are the chances of that? Once in a blue moon.
Rosemary Roasted Blue Potatoes (seasoning adapted from Kalyn’s recipe, noted above; blue potatoes inspired by Lucy of Nourish Me)
1 pound small blue potatoes, unpeeled but washed whole, any sprouts or bruises removed
¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons dried rosemary leaves, slightly crushed
1 tablespoon sea salt, slightly crushed
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F. Cover bottom of natural finish skillet with heat-resistant handle (cast iron works best) with the oil. Cut potatoes into quarters, add to skillet and toss to coat with oil. Position skillet on middle rack of oven. Roast potatoes for 20 minutes. Turn off oven heat. Stir potatoes and keep them in oven another 10 minutes. Stir potatoes one last time, then transfer to a serving bowl, tossing the rosemary and salt mixture over them. Serves 4 --
This post is being submitted to Kalyn Denny of Kalyn's Kitchen creator of Weekend Herb Blogging, celebrating the second full year of her very popular food event.
Please stay tuned for next week's round-up #105, which I am privileged to be hosting.