Thursday, October 11, 2007

Fit for a Party - Roasted Blue Potatoes

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.


Sylvia said...

I never saw those potatoes here. But they are so cute. Love your write extremely well.

Maryann@FindingLaDolceVita said...

Your description of the blue potatoes makes me want to go out and find some :)

sra said...

I'm waiting for the day they'll be available here - but that wouldn't be a very environment-friendly day, I suppose (after travelling all those miles). This is one veggie I've come to know about solely through blogs. I can't get over potatoes being blue/purple.

Mishmash ! said...

If I look at it for some more time, I might as well propose to them!!! Utterly beautiful!!! and you have cooked it the right way just with a touch of herbs


librariane said...

Wow, the really do remind me of beets--what an amazing color! The most unusual thing I've seen around here lately are Saturn peaches. And I was told that ugli fruit is back in vogue (we read Eating the Alphabet in storytime this week). I'll need to try it!

Kalyn said...

I've never seen potatoes like this! The color is quite amazing. I bet they taste wonderful with the rosemary salt. I'm nearly out of that and need to make more soon! Thanks for helping us celebrate the two year anniversary!

Suganya said...

I haven't tried these beauties yet. I even saw them in my local public market. They always lose their precious color once cooked. Thats a turn off. How did you manage to keep the color? BTW, Nice souvenir you've got :D

Toni said...

I adore blue potatoes! They are quite sweet, as well as hallucinogenic in color. And I love the combo with rosemary salt.

Truffle said...

This is such a striking dish. I love the colour and the flavours sound wonderful too!

Sandeepa said...

Blue potatoes, even I didn't know about such a thing. Susan, your Maine trip was fully utilized, you even did grocery on the way back home :D

Roasted blue potatoes are so gorgeous that they will surely lift the blues out of me

Terry B said...

Susan--Those are gorgeous! Great photography, as usual. And the recipe sounds great, even if I have to use a more ordinary color of spuds. Perfect timing too, with the cooler temps these days.

TBC said...

Susan, I've never seen those potatoes here. That color is so beautiful! At first I thought they were beets. I have tasted blue potatoes chips somewhere, don't know where but it would not taste the same, would it?
I would love to try this out some day.:-)

Christina said...

I love me some blue potatoes. In fact, we just ate them tonight! My farmers' market has a beautiful variety of potato types: multiple fingerling varieties, different colors, bakers, roasted and mashers, so I have the opportunity of potato-experimentation frequently. I also love roasting them with rosemary. Thanks for encouraging your readers to reach beyond the more ubiquitous Yukon Golds and russets.

Patricia Scarpin said...

Dear Susan,
I must say this is the most unusual potatoes I have ever seen! :)

katiez said...

I want purple potatoes....
They looks so pretty - and I had no idea they would retain their color so well. I do love pretty food~

Susan said...

Sylvia – Thank you. The potatoes sure are cute, so small yet colorfully feisty.
Hi, Maryann. Good luck! I’d be curious how long it will take to run into them. I’d like to serve them again, so I’m really going to keep my eyes peeled.
Sra – I fear a blue potato would certainly turn green after making the journey. Even though I’ve seen, prepared and eaten these, it is still hard to believe they are real. A particular naturally occurring pigment, anthocyanidin, is responsible. It's the same pigment that colors grapes, berries and some other produce.
Shn, you are adorable (and funny), you know. Thanks for the vote on the recipe. Sometimes the simplest preparation is just enough. No absence of flavor, either. These weren’t spicy, but delicious nonetheless, mellow and nutty.
Hi, Rahama. Saturn peaches have been available in my area for years now. Their shape is pretty cool, but there are other white peach varieties with better flavor. Nothing beats the novelty of them, though. I’d love to try ugli fruit. I hear the juice is sweeter than a grapefruit, a combination of many citrus flavors.
Hi, Kalyn. The color is true, too. I didn’t manipulate it with Photoshop. I never actually expected to find a recipe for rosemary salt (too simple), but there it was! Happy to be part of the party!
Suganya – The secret to maintaining the color is not to boil or overcook them. They will also loose color quickly if they are peeled and the exposed flesh is washed. My first choice was to make French fries, but after soaking the peeled strips to remove the starch before frying, the color faded a lot, but the water was quite blue. Whatever blue was left after frying was totally obscured by the golden crust. I agree, that grey-blue color is dingy and unappetizing.
Hi, Toni. They are groovy, aren’t they? They’re great eating, too, but it’s hard to stop staring at them.
Thanks, Truffle. The color really is riveting, and there is no sacrifice of flavor due to the mutation, either.
Sandeepa – I’m not against retail therapy, it’s just a choice of merchandise. : D Thank goodness we went by car. Who knows if they would have let us on a plane with these. !!!
Thank you, Terry. I’ve loved rosemary and salt on roasted potatoes for years. Blue is a nice treat, but spud for spud, all varieties taste great this way.
Hi, TBC. I’ve had blue chips, too. I love them. Terra brand makes all kinds of funky chips, including blue. I think they taste different, but I guess only a blind taste test would tell for sure. : )
Lucky you, Christina! Your bounty sounds marvelous. I can’t even imagine having such choices unless I slept in Union Square Market overnight to ensure first dibs when the stalls open in the morning. Yukon Golds are ubiquitous, but I love their waxy, dense flesh for mashing.
Welcome back, Patricia! Blue certainly isn’t considered a typical edible color, unless we’re talking about Smurf snow cones! : )
Hi, Katie! They do retain their color if cooked carefully (as I noted above to Suganya). Somewhere, in even a more remote area of France than where you live, someone is growing blue potatoes. Where exactly? Ah, there’s the rub…

sunita said...

Wow, they are quite dramatic indeed!I've never come across them before. They do deserve special treatment...and you've given them just that... by keeping them simple for their natural beauty to shine through.

Rosa said...

I don't buy these potatoes very often but I do love their dramatic color! Here in France they are called the vitelotte and sometimes the truffe because they look a bit like truffles. The best way I ever had them was in a very creamy purple purée, but your recipe looks lovely too.

Sharmi said...

I have never tried these potatoes. they look like beets. must be tasting the same as regular ones right?
BTW About you doubt regarding the clarified butter, the milk solids get settled in the bottom as brown residue. You have to skim out the clarified butter which is easy.

Shaun said...

Susan, lovie - We almost prepare our potatoes the same way, except I throw in fresh rosemary and salt at the beginning of the roasting process, so the potatoes become quite dry on the outside. I see yours look lovely and moist. And I have never seen blue potatoes. What a festive color with which to celebrate two years of a great blogging event.

Kelly-Jane said...

I will buy these if I see them, I'll be positive - when I see them. They are just so unusual :)

I like white potatoes done like this too.

Susan said...

Thanks, Sunita. They are drama queens, aren't they?
Rosa - Thanks. I'm sure the purée was delicious, but I was wary to overcook the color out of them.
Sharmi - These potatoes taste the same as others, but some, myself included, think they have a smooth nut-like flavor, too. Thanks for letting me know about the butter. Our methods are different, but the goal, the same.
Hi, Shaun. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time, to shop and prepare these. You haven't seen blue potatoes before? Well, next time you're in CA, you are going to have to stay longer and spend more time at the farmers markets.
Kelly-Jane - They could fool you. The skins are a dull, brownish blue, not brilliant like the inside flesh. Hope you find them. Meantime, rosemary and salt are great for any potato.

Cynthia said...

Perfect potatoes, for a perfect dish, makes a perfect entry for a perfect event.

Susan said...

Cynthia - And a "perfect" thank you to you! : )

Lucy said...

So pleased you found them, ugly little beasts that they are. Who, though, would imagine the beauty inside from that grey, knobbly exterior?

Sorry to have missed the two year anniversary...but I won't miss the 105th week - of that you can be sure.

Simona said...

I love these potatoes and also roast them with rosemary. They are so colorful and flavorful.

Susan said...

Lucy - They truly were sapphires in the rough. I had a hankering for them since your Food in Film entry.
Simona - Rosemary seems to be the BEST herb for flavoring heavy starch. I love it with beans, too.

laurenfarinapr said...

This looks so amazing! Where can I find BLUE POTATOS??? I have looked everywhere! I hope some of you can help.

Thank you much!


Susan said...

Hi, Lauren! Thanks for the kudos. I found these blue potatoes by accident while traveling 800 miles from home. Upscale farmers markets or supermarkets may be your best bet, although you might even be able to find them online; some growers of produce will ship.

Anonymous said...

Most Whole Food Markets have them

Susan said...

Anon - Thanks, but I never had any luck finding them there.

rachel said...

hi! i just bought these adirondack blues at the farmers market on a complete whim and decided to make them for dinner with a steak. perfect comfort food, great, simple recipe. i loved it!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the recipe. I have just today harvested some blue potatoes I grew in my garden, and am looking forward to trying this.


Anonymous said...

Very good recipe to try when youre eating blue potatoes for the first time - My husband and I picked some up at a local farmers market - I would adjust the salt content to your liking - We will be purchasing more blue potatoes next Saturday