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Bless Your Spoon: Potatoes and fresh produce on the way

By Stephanie Williams Dean

Bless Your Spoon

The official start of spring is almost here.

As weather turns warmer, I’ll be looking for new recipes that add more fresh produce to our plates. As we get closer to Easter, you’ll see more recipes prepped for a holiday meal.

Recently, I was served the best wasabi mashed potatoes I’d ever eaten – well, to be honest – I’d never tried any that were wasabi flavored. They were outstanding.

Do you ever wish you knew a chef’s secret for making knock-out mashed potatoes? Well, their secret’s out. What I know is that two sides – mashed potatoes alongside some delicious green beans – continue to be everyone’s favorites.Try whippin’ them up to smooth with an electric hand mixer.

You can choose any basic, mashed potato recipe and add favorite additions. Roasted potatoes are almost as equally loved. Whether roasted or mashed – you must try the Yukon Gold potatoes for their great flavor and texture. Cut them in any way – sliced, wedged, or in lengths – and use your favorite herbs. Roasted potatoes are tasty alongside an egg casserole as a breakfast side dish.

Let’s face it, potatoes are good company for all meats and perfect in any season.

MASHED PARMESAN POTATOES WITH BACON

3 ½ lbs. peeled, cut 1-inch, russet potatoes

5 peeled cloves garlic

1 stick salted butter

1 tsp. minced fresh rosemary

½ lb. cooked, crumbled bacon

¾ cup whole milk, plus

1 cup grated fresh parmesan cheese

Salt and freshly ground black pepper.

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook potatoes and garlic for 15 minutes or until tender. Drain and return to pot. In a saucepan, melt butter. Add rosemary and cook 3 minutes until fragrant. Add to potatoes. In same skillet, cook bacon, drain, and crumble. Add to potatoes. Add milk and mash well, adding more milk if necessary. Blend in cheese until melted.  Season with salt and pepper.

PAN ROASTED WEDGE POTATOES

4 lbs. unpeeled, Yukon Gold potatoes

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

6 chopped, large shallots

1 tbsp. kosher salt

1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

3 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

3 tsp. chopped fresh thyme

3 tsp. chopped fresh chives

Cut potatoes in 6 vertical wedges. In a pot, boil potato in salted water for 6 minutes. Drain. In a bowl, toss potatoes with oil, shallots, salt, and pepper. In an olive oil greased roasting pan, add potatoes. Sprinkle with parsley and thyme. Roast in a 400-degree oven for 55 minutes while carefully turning potatoes every 15 minutes until potatoes are tender and browned. Transfer to serving bowl. Sprinkle with additional chopped chives or herbs of choice.

SALTY ROASTED WHOLE POTATOES

6 lbs. 1-2-inch Yukon Gold potatoes

1 ½ Tbsp. kosher salt, plus

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook potatoes for 4 minutes. Drain. Cool. Add potatoes to   bowl and add olive oil, turning carefully to coat. To a rimmed baking sheet, add potatoes and oil. Season with salt. Roast in a preheated 425-degree oven, turning several times and basting during roasting for 70 minutes or until brown and tender.

MINTED NEW POTATOES

2 lbs. small, halved red-skin potatoes

2 lbs. small, halved white skin potatoes

8 Tbsp. salted butter

2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

10 Tbsp. chopped fresh mint

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook potatoes for 15 minutes or until tender. Drain and cool. In a skillet, add half of butter, half of olive oil, half the potatoes, and add half the mint. Saute for 15 minutes while stirring occasionally. Repeat with remainder of butter, oil, potatoes, and mint. Salt and pepper to taste.

BUTTERMILK MASHED POTATOES

WITH CHIVES

2 lbs. peeled, diced 1-inch, russet potatoes

¼ cup buttermilk

6 Tbsp. salted butter

3 minced cloves garlic

½ cup chopped fresh chives

1 tsp. grated lemon peel

Salt and freshly grated black pepper

In a large pot, cook potatoes in boiling salted water for 20 minutes or until tender. Drain. Return potatoes to the pot, add buttermilk, and mash. In a skillet, melt butter. Saute garlic for 1 minute. Add to potatoes with fresh chives and lemon peel.  Season with salt and pepper.

YUKON GOLDS WITH SOUR CREAM

1 lb. peeled, diced 2-inches, Yukon Gold potatoes

½ cup fresh or canned chicken broth

4 Tbsp. sour cream

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a pot, cook potatoes in salted boiling water for 25 minutes or until fork-tender. Drain. Put potatoes in pot and mash. Add just enough broth to moisten potatoes. Stir in sour cream. Season potatoes to taste.

WHIPPED POTATOES WITH WASABI

3 lbs. peeled, cut 2-inch, russet potatoes

¾ cup whole milk

1 ½ Tbsp. wasabi (horseradish) powder

½ stick salted butter

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large pot, boil potatoes in salted water for 20 minutes or until tender. Drain. Return to pot and mash. In a bowl, combine milk and wasabi powder, stirring until dissolved. Add butter and wasabi/milk mixture to potatoes. Whip potatoes with an electric mixer until fluffy. Season with salt and pepper. Horseradish powder is found in grocer’s Asian section.

SMASHED ROSEMARY RUSSETS

3 ½ lbs. peeled, diced 2-inch, russets

4 Tbsp. salted butter

¾ cup half and half

3 tsp. minced fresh rosemary

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook potatoes for 25 minutes or until tender. Drain. Return to pot and mash until smooth. Melt in butter. Add half and half, rosemary and salt and pepper, to taste.

SIMPLE GARLIC MASHED POTATOES

2 lbs. Yukon Gold potatoes

1 ¼ potato cooking liquid, plus

12 medium cloves of garlic

4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

2 Tbsp. fresh parsley

Salt and freshly grated black pepper

In a large pot, boil potatoes in salted water for 35 minutes or until tender. Reserve 1¼ cups of cooking liquid. In a skillet, heat olive oil. Add chopped garlic, and saute 10 minutes. Add to potatoes and mash until smooth. Use extra liquid if necessary for consistency. Season with salt and pepper.