What a week! Judi and Artie are off on their fabulous trip, and our CSA site is temporarily relocating! On the 11th and 18th of this month our pickup will be at the Church of the Holy Trinity on 88th Street between First & Second Aves. The pickup hours will remain the same as usual.
Judi’s shoes will be hard to fill! As I am totally lacking in fancy chef credentials, I’ll be sharing some wonderful recipes from a couple of chefs I admire. This week, a beautiful recipe for salt-crusted potatoes with herbed vinegar, and a recipe for quick-pickled onions. These are variations of some of my favorite dishes to make for dinner parties and potluck gatherings. Hope you enjoy them!
Salt-Crusted Potatoes with Herbed Vinegar
From A Girl and Her Greens by April Bloomfield
(Serves 4 to 6 as a side.)
Here’s a nice, unusual way to cook my old pal the potato. For the typical boiled potatoes, I’d simmer them gently in salty water. For this preparation, the bubbles are furious. In fact, you’re meant to boil the water not just until the potatoes are cooked but until it evaporates altogether. (While I do it, I like to think of a salt lake drying out to become a salt flat.) The salt left behind coats each potato to form a toasty crust that reminds me of a perfect baked potato with an especially salty jacket. Then all you do is spoon on a mixture of vinegar and fresh herbs. Just don’t serve the potatoes in a bowl or stir them, or you’ll lose the crust and the whole dish will get too salty.
2 pounds golf-ball size Yukon Gold potatoes or similar (white potatoes will work here)
3 tablespoons Maldon or another flaky sea salt
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
A five-finger pinch of delicate flat-leaf parsley sprigs (feel free to substitute dill or thyme, or even cilantro)
6 or so large basil leaves
10 or so large mint leaves
Coarsely ground black pepper
Put the potatoes in a medium pot where they’ll fit snugly in one layer and add enough cold water to just barely cover them. Add the salt and bring the water to a boil over high heat. Boil until the potatoes are tender and the water has completely evaporated, giving the pan an occasional shake once the water’s almost all gone, 30 to 40 minutes. Keep cooking, and shaking, until the potatoes are coated with a layer of salt and the bottom of the pot has begun to brown (don’t fret; it’ll scrub off easily later), about 3 minutes more. Take the pot off the heat and let the potatoes cool slightly.
If any potatoes have a very thick layer of salt, gently rub them with a kitchen towel to knock a bit off. Halve the potatoes the long way and arrange them cut sides up on a large platter or plate. Whisk together the oil and vinegar in a small bowl until the mixture looks creamy. Toss the herbs together, coarsely chop them, and stir them into the vinegar mixture. Spoon the mixture over the potatoes, sprinkle on as much pepper as you’d like, and serve straightaway.
© 2015, April Bloomfield.
From The Vegetable Butcher by Cara Mangini
(Makes about 2 cups.)
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1/3 cup water
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 thinly sliced large red onion
Optional: 1 thinly sliced jalapeño, seeds and ribs removed
Optional: 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
Combine the vinegar, sugar, water, and sea salt in a medium-size saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Stir in the thinly sliced large red onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion just begins to soften, about 3 minutes. Transfer the onion slices to a jar and pour the hot cooking liquid over them. Let stand to cool, turning occasionally; cover tightly and refrigerate for up to 1 week.
As a variation, add 1 thinly sliced jalapeño (seeds and ribs removed) along with the onion to the vinegar mixture and/or 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin.
© 2016, Cara Mangini.