Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Mashed? No, Smashed Potatoes!

Nothing is better than crispy potato skin.  But with these high temperatures chez nous, no way will I bake taters to get that delectable, roasted skin. This method of pan frying potatoes has a lot going for it.  You got the crispy skins, you got the tender insides, and you got it all coated with herbs and olive oil. It's delicious fare!

The mid-season potatoes--a lovely variety called Daifla--are ready for harvest in our potager. All purpose, small to medium-sized potatoes also should work well. For each serving, use several potatoes, an onion, and a few tablespoons of fresh herbs.

Scrub and boil the potatoes with their skins until they are tender (test to see if a knife goes easily into its centre).  Carefully squish them with a meat mallet (via the smooth side)/plate/the back of a wooden spoon, trying not to fragment them into separate pieces.

Mince your chosen herbs--I used flat-leaf parsley, rosemary, thyme (strip the tiny leaves off their stems), and chiffonade of basil.  Slice thinly an onion. Since Madame M gave me some splendid piment doux des Landes from her garden, I added them. When green, this mild chili pepper from the Basque region adds zest but not much heat, making a lovely addition to Piperade and other dishes. When red, it becomes quite sweet.  I removed the seeds and sliced them.

Select a heavy-bottom frying pan big enough to accommodate the potatoes in a single layer. Saute the onion in some olive oil (shallowly covering the bottom of a heavy-bottom skillet) for a couple of minutes until translucent. If using peppers, toss them in also.

Add the smashed potatoes/herbs and brown for about five minutes over medium-high heat. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Flatten out the potatoes with a spatula and flip them over occasionally to get them nice and browned.

About another five minutes later, they should be ready. If you want them crunchier, then cook them longer. Simple but stupendous at the same time! If topped with grated cheese and served with a green salad, you got yourself a complete meal.

In the potager, the stormy weather from last week continued a bit more providing an eerie background for the garden.

Mirabelle plum tree, rhubarb, currants, grapes & Spruce showcased in a dramatic landscape

It being near to twilight added even more atmosphere

Sunny days eventually returned, encouraging vegetable and fruits to get closer to maturity.

Smooth skinned Cantaloupes are closer to the size of honeydew melons probably because of abundant rain

Cream-coloured Butternut squash

When young, butternut squash looks more like squat zucchini.

What a cutie!

Tomato harvest started last week!

Blueberries are blue.

The entire garden appreciates all this rain.

Lavender, Rose of Sharon, and Weigelia

How would it be like if in the centre of your self there was a circular constellation of yellow stars?  This pink zinnia is taking it in stride.

It took Dayo about three weeks to recover completely from his paw surgery so he could once again be with me in the garden. The Calm One was essential in helping Dayo to heal as he patiently held Dayo's paw in his hand hours at a time during the first several days following removal of the stitches. The surgical collar was worthless as Dayo could easily reach his paw for a thorough lashing with the sandpaper he calls his tongue. Instead of Dayo's paw, The Calm One's hand got a frequent, rough cleaning.

Dayo conveniently sprawled on The Calm One's desk: one hand typed while the other acted like a bandage.

It's wonderful having Dayo back in the garden!

À la prochaine!


How to transplant blueberries
Making Piperade