Wednesday 6 July 2011

Black or Purple Peruvian?

Potatoes that is. You expect something special when you cut into a black potato and see all that lovely purple flesh don’t you? Even the idea of black potatoes has something a little bit exotic about it, like Black Russian cigarettes. I don't smoke them, or anything else for that matter... but I've always thought they look so cool...( I know they're not good for you)

So when ‘A’ actually brought some home from school that some of his students had grown, I couldn’t wait to try them out. My first inclination was to find a very special recipe as the potatoes looked so unusual. But then I thought I'd never cooked with them before maybe it would best to do something really simple that wouldn't obscure the flavour. So I simply baked some and seasoned with a good sprinkle of sea salt and knob of butter and ate with a plain salad and poached egg.

The potatoes kept their colour really well, but the flavour was disappointing. They were just a very bland floury potato. I'm not sure what variety they are...I think possibly Purple Peruvian also known as Black or Blue potatoes. Novelty wise they are fun to use and would make a cool purple mash...great for Halloween, but the flavour has to come from other ingredients.

Par-boiled Black potatoes worked well in this tortilla style omelette with sautéed mushrooms, tomatoes, chilli and little anchovies. I’ve only just discovered the ones from the delicatessen that you buy by weight, not the tinned variety. They are so much tastier, almost like a different food. They make tiny soft little melty explosions of flavour.
Possibly the best way to use them for me was in this salad I made last night of boiled cubes of sweet and black potato, baby gem lettuce, cucumber, sliced red onion, some tangy Persian feta cheese (I think it’s made from ewes milk) and nice big butter beans…mmmm…simply dressed with pumpkin seed oil and Balsamic vinegar and a little bit of seasoning. The colours and flavours were amazing…

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