Kitchen Wit & Wisdom: Tiny potatoes with big flavour

Cathi Litzenberger looks back on a childhood where potatoes were a staple of every dinner, but now loves the tasty ways of preparing them

New potatoes can be transformed into delicious nuggets of goodness

New potatoes can be transformed into delicious nuggets of goodness

This time of year the Irish in me certainly comes to the surface. Growing up in a large family, potatoes were a mainstay to keep all us kids fed and happy.

In fact, I well remember going out to Krebbers farm, where dad bought potatoes two sacks at a time along with a sack of onions in the late fall after his own garden supply was gone. He bought another two before the end of winter.

Mom cooked five to eight pounds at a meal and our plates were filled at least half with potatoes, the rest of the plate held vegetables, and a little meat; I say a little because one chicken would feed the 10 of us. Friday was a fish day. Once the garden was planted in spring I couldn’t wait for the first new baby potatoes of the season. After the plants had flowered, Dad would sneak a peek under the plants and remove a few of the larger potatoes for a family treat — they were so delicious! Yesterday I harvested the “wild” potatoes that grew from missed little spuds planted the year prior. They were interfering with my tomatoes so I dug them out. Surprisingly those four plants gifted me a pail full of spuds, a third of which were small ones. It inspired me to offer two delicious recipes using those small new potatoes that I’m sure you’ll enjoy. So hit the farmers’ market if you don’t have a garden of your own, and give these a try. Both are simple to prepare and tasty.

New Garlic Red Potatoes

2 pounds new small red potatoes, quartered

1/4 cup butter, melted

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 teaspoon salt

1 lemon, juiced

1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 F (175 C).  Place potatoes in an 8×8 inch baking dish.

In a small bowl combine melted butter, garlic, salt and lemon juice; pour over potatoes and stir to coat. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over potatoes. Bake, covered, in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake until golden brown and tender when pierced with a fork, about 10 minutes more.

Note: Aluminum foil can be used to keep food moist, cook it evenly, and make clean-up easier.

Crunchy New Potatoes

with Dill and Onions

1½ kg (about 3 lbs) new, small potatoes, halved or quartered

3 tbsp. olive oil

1 onion, as thinly sliced as you can

Small bunch dill, roughly chopped

Salt and pepper, to taste

Bring a large pan of salted water to boil. Add spuds, bring back to the boil, then cook for 3 minutes. Drain really well, leave in colander for 10 minutes to steam dry. In a large roasting tin, toss potatoes with the oil and onion.

Heat oven to 425 F (220 C) and put in the potatoes. Roast 30 minutes, stirring halfway, until golden and crunchy. Stir in the dill, salt and pepper to taste, and put back in oven for 5 minutes, then serve.