It’s the Irish in me

May 27, 2016

Yummmmmmmm....roasted new potatoes, pork chop, asparagus

Yummmmmmmm….roasted new potatoes, pork chop, asparagus

I don’t have a lot of Irish background; a few ancestors, but most were from the other side of the Irish Sea/North Atlantic, in England and Scotland (and a sizeable number from elsewhere about the continent). But there are still some Irish delicacies of which I’m unconscionably fond, including Jameson’s and Bailey’s.

And potatoes. God help me, I love a potato. I love just about anything you can do with a potato, and my fondness for them is a significant factor in why I’ve fought a weight problem most of my life.

Consider:

  • One of my premier comfort foods is potato salad.
  • One of my favorite snacks is potato skins, topped with cheese and bacon and green onion, with sour cream on the side.
  • A down-home country dinner is much improved by a side of pan-fried potatoes and onions.
  • Latkes, with sour cream, apple butter, and a side of bacon, are sublime.

And that doesn’t even start to include mashed, stewed, or baked potatoes, or leftover potatoes fried up as potato cakes.

I am making myself hungry. Literally. My mouth is watering as I’m typing this.

One of the finest delicacies of spring is the new potato. New as in small (marble-sized to quarter sized are my faves) and freshly dug. And the above dinner is exactly how I like them.

For an absolutely delectable, and dead easy, spring side, roast some tiny new potatoes. I got these at the Farmers’ Market last week. I washed them well, dried them, tossed them with olive oil, poured them out on a baking sheet, sprinkled them with seasoned salt, and baked them at 400 for about 15 or 20 minutes, just until they were tender.

Have mercy. These little babies are utterly tender, creamy morsels; they have just a bit of sweet spring taste to them, offset by the salt. The only way they’re any better is to roast them underneath a rack on which you’re roasting meat of some sort, and let them baste in the meat drippings.

But I was cooking pork chops, which I’d marinated a couple of hours in a mixture of balsamic vinegar, honey and Dijon mustard. This is good stuff. Saw it on Facebook, thought it ought to be worth a try. It was. I seared the chops in an iron skillet, then turned the heat down and put a lid over them to let them cook through long enough to get done and tender, but not to dry out.

A side of what is likely the last of the year’s asparagus, unless I get lucky tomorrow, and it was an excellent spring dinner, done in just barely more than 30 minutes.

I’m going looking for new potatoes again this weekend. They also make a great potato salad, not my standard version, but one with a light viniagrette dressing and lots of fresh herbs and green onions.

Ooohh. If I can find them Saturday morning at the market, I could make them to go with the holiday cookout.

Note to self. Add that to the menu.

You ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em give a thought to new potatoes when you’re planning your next cookout. Or any other meal, for that matter.

 

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