One fun side benefit of being a member of the Siena Farms CSA is that I get a weekly newsletter from the farm describing all the goodies in that week's share. Oftentimes Ana Sortun, chef-owner of Oleana, Sofra, and Sarma (and wife of the farmer who runs Siena Farms), will share some of her favorite recipes in the email.
Last week, the recipe for crispy basil smashed potatoes caught my eye.
It looked so simple, yet she said it was one of her favorite ways to enjoy the fresh taste of "fresh-dug" potatoes, which first appeared in our share last week.
The newsletter also said that a potato's sugars will turn to starch pretty rapidly within a week, so we if really wanted to enjoy our fresh dug potato flavor, we needed to eat the potatoes "right away"!
I immediately put down the newsletter and got to work.
I decided I was going to eat those potatoes that night.
The smashed potato dish involves boiling the potatoes first. It's important to put the potatoes into cold water and then slowly bring the heat up with the potatoes in the pot. According to Ana, when the water temperature is brought up slowly, the potato starch develops a gelatin-like film that slows water absorption, thus preventing water-logged potatoes.
Once the potatoes are done cooking, cool them down (you can rinse them with cold water). When they are cool enough, smash them with the bottom of a mug!
Pan fry the smashed potatoes in a skillet coated with about ⅛ inch of vegetable oil at high heat. You want the oil nice and hot. Ideally, you would use a pan that holds heat well, like a cast iron skillet, so that the oil remains hot even after adding the cold potatoes. Cold oil tends to make things more greasy!
Once one side is browned, flip the potatoes to cook the other side. When the potatoes are just about done, add a large, generous handful of basil (or any other herb you fancy). Let the basil "fry" for about a minute before removing the entire batch.
Sprinkle with generous amounts of salt and then serve!
It looks so simple, but i's really, really tasty. I love the addition of the fresh herbs at the end. I ended up using up all my potatoes within two days, making this dish twice.
Hope you're all enjoying the summer weather thus far! I can't believe it's almost August. One more month to squeeze in as many summer activities as possible!
Disclaimer: I received a discount from Siena Farms for my CSA. All opinions are my own.
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