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Ingredient of the Week: Purple Potatoes

Buttermilk smashed purple potatoes
Buttermilk smashed purple potatoes
Photo by John Suh

Another discovery from last month's trip to Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc Restaurant is these little bites of purple delight. Simply prepared yet full of earthy goodness, the potatoes were my favorite thing on the dish; I raved about them even more than I did the Wagyu beef skewers and slow-roasted pork ribs. They're vibrant and delicious and make an awesome accompaniment. Read on and learn about the purple potato.

What is it?

Purple potatoes look exactly as you would think: their skins and flesh are a violet hue. They are dry, starchy, and nutty in flavor. Most are harvested young and thus small in size; if they are left to mature, they will grow large and oblong, suitable for baking or mashing.

Unlike their white fleshed cousin, the purple potato is full of the antioxidants found in many red, blue, and purple produce (such as berries and pomegranates) which are known to boost the immune system and fight disease. There is some evidence that purple potatoes may also lower blood pressure. They are mostly grown and used in Europe and North and South America.

How do I use it?

Originally from Peruvian cuisine, the purple potato has spread through other South American countries and is now popular in North America, where the white fleshed potato is common. They can be roasted, braised, boiled, or fried to make chips. They pair well with poultry, pork, garlic, savory herbs, artichoke, salad greens, and cheese. To brighten its color, add a squeeze of lemon juice before serving.

Where can I find it?

I found these in the produce section of the H-E-B on I-10 and Bunker Hill.

Recipe: Buttermilk Smashed Purple Potatoes This recipe is similar to Keller's way of preparation: the potatoes are first boiled to remove extraneous starch; smashed with a fork; then drizzled with the buttermilk, salt, and pepper. I added another step by roasting them in the oven right before serving; the fork smashing technique created more surface area for the buttermilk to coat, resulting in a rich and crispy purple potato.

What do you do with your purple potatoes?



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