Wednesday, June 18, 2008


I mentioned this recipe a few posts ago, but it needed another go-round to work out the kinks. Attempt #2 happened on Sunday night, as part of a tongue-in-cheek purple-and-gold meal (“gold” being represented by corn fritters) I created to sustain us while we vainly cheered for the Lakers during the NBA Finals. (Boo, Lakers. But yay, I guess, for my dear former Timberwolf Kevin Garnett, who was hilariously gobsmacked upon winning last night—crying, babbling, giving shouts out to “ ’Sota” [I’m so going to start calling it that], using the f-word so many times that vast portions of his speech were bleeped out, and possibly hitting on his female interviewer.)

This time, I deviated from the original recipe by briefly sautéing the shallots in olive oil instead of leaving them raw, and for me that was the one adjustment needed to push this over the edge into side-dish perfection. At least for potato-salad-phobes like me, this is the ideal summer potato dish: It’s got the comforting texture of rustically chunky mashed potatoes, but with a light, lemony flavor and cheerful, festive color. It’s easy to make and doesn’t need to be eaten piping-hot. And watching the color “bloom” as you add the lemon juice is just endlessly fun.

(One note: Your color results will vary depending on the type of potato—I didn’t use the Purple Majesties the recipe specified, just whatever anonymous purple variety the farmers’ market happened to have, and you’ll notice mine are a delicate shade of lavender instead of the brilliant plum hue of the Smitten Kitchen’s.)

1 pound small purple potatoes, washed
4 small shallots, minced
2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
3 tablespoons good extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt to taste
Freshly ground pepper to taste
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped

1. In a large pot, cook potatoes with skins on in heavily salted boiling water until tender, approximately 15 minutes.

2. Remove potatoes from pot, and let them sit until cool enough to touch.

3. Meanwhile, put the empty pot back on the stove (dry it out first if necessary), add the olive oil, and warm it over medium heat. Add the minced shallots and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.

4. While the shallots are cooking, peel the warm potatoes with your fingers. Place them in a large bowl and, using a fork, gently smash them, maintaining a fairly chunky consistency. Pour in the shallot and olive oil from the pot, then add lemon juice, salt, and pepper and fold gently to combine. Sprinkle parsley on top.

Serves: 4
Time: 30 minutes

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