And my mother used to say “Joey! Bring me some potatoes.”
So I’d go to the shed and, you know, how the shed is raised off the ground like. And we’d push all the sand under the shed and make like a sandbox.
So I’d go in the shed and lift the trap door — by golly was it ever a squeeze. I was the youngest you see, that’s why it was my job. And I’d pick around under the shed in the sand, digging for potatoes and carrots and beets for my mother.
A little bit on potatoes today.
Potatoes are what I associate most with bare bones, frugal cooking.
But even when eating potatoes for hard time’s sake, you can be a chooser.
It’s worth taking the time to learn what common varieties of potatoes are best suited for.
Baby new, red and fingerling potatoes are best suited for roasting.
Yukon Golds are great for buttery mashed potatoes. Their rich texture can support a lot of fat being emulsified in.
Gold Coast potatoes are better for fluffy mashed potatoes. They’re slightly mealy and naturally fluffy.
Russets are the go-to for crispy applications, like French fries and chips, because of their high starch content.
Russets also make the best baked potatoes.
Some things hold true for all potatoes, though.
For instance, potatoes take a lot of salt — about twice as much as other vegetables.
Also, although potatoes are sometimes sold in plastic bags, they should never be stored in plastic bags. They sweat, or lose moisture, and then start to rot.
Ideally they should be stored in a cool, dry, dark place. Note that cool doesn’t mean a cold fridge.
Rosemary and Garlic Roasted Potatoes
16 baby new potatoes
3 cloves garlic
1 sprig fresh rosemary, broken in half
1/4 cup canola oil
salt and black pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 400F.
Wash and thoroughly dry the potatoes. Do not peel. Chop into roughly 1-inch chunks.
Keeping the skin on, smash each clove of garlic by pressing down with the side of a sturdy chef or santoku knife.
Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large cast iron pan. Add the potatoes. Fry, stirring occasionally, until the cut sides of the potatoes take on some colour, about 6-7 minutes. Briefly pre-frying gets the colour well on its way before the potatoes go in the oven.
Add the garlic and rosemary and fry, stirring to prevent the herbs burning, for 1 minute. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Carefully transfer the pan to the hot oven.
Roast potatoes at 400F, stirring only once or twice, until fork tender, about 15-20 minutes.