What exactly does one do with a blue potato? Better question; what exactly is a blue potato? Now I know all of you fancy culinary types are rolling your eyes at me, but before recipes for blue potato this, and blue potato that started appearing all over the internet a few weeks before the July 4th weekend, I had never heard of these sapphire spuds. After having such a glaring hole in my culinary knowledge pointed out to me, I had to find some answers to my steaming potato question.
So I turned to the definitive source for all things trivia: Wikipedia. Wiki tells me that the tuber in question is called the Adirondack Blue potato, and was bred by a guy named Walter De Jong at Cornell University in 2003. Not satisfied with this quick answer, I Googled deeper and found a reference on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s website that states that the blue potato was discovered by a dude named William Bilozir at the Highwood Springs Farm in Dewinton, Alberta, Canada…..in 1996.
Just to muddy the waters even further, I found an article on seattlepi.com by Hsiao-Ching Chou, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer Food Editor, that explains to me that of course everybody knows that these potatoes originated in South America and have been a staple there for like a bajillion years. Oh and by the way, the writer says, there are red potatoes too. Really red. Inside and out. Wiki tells me they are called the Adirondack Red potato and were bred by our friend Walter De Jong at Cornell. However, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer Food Editor tells me they too (of course) have been hanging around in South America since before humans had opposable thumbs.
Now that my question was so spectacularly not answered, I decided to ignore my ignorance and just cook the silly things. It took a trip to Kansas City and the Kansas City River Market to find my little blue spuds, but I had them in hand at long last, along with some fingerlings and itty bitty red potatoes. Not the “special” reds, just the regular ones. I decided that a warm, roasted potato salad would be perfect for my potato trio, and so I concocted this one, inspired by a recipe I found on the BBC’s Good Food Website.
Just throw the garlic cloves in with the potatoes to roast in their skins. The sweet, roasted and crushed garlic will add some spunk to the vinaigrette.
I like the onions just tender and not too brown, but you can add them in earlier if you like them a bit more golden and caramelized.
I had some champagne vinegar left over from another potato salad I made. It has an aroma that instantly reminds you of champagne, with some vanilla floating around in the background. It’s more delicate in flavor than white wine vinegar. But it’s also a pain in the butt to find, so white wine vinegar will work just fine in this recipe. And then there is bacon. I love me some bacon. I like to think that the bacon keeps the champagne vinegar from getting too uppity.
Oh and in case you were wondering. no, I’m not crazy enough to drive 3 hours for a blue potato, I was already headed to Kansas City. I pinky swear.
Roasted Three Potato Salad
2½ lbs small new potatoes, any combination of red, blue, fingerling or yellow.
6 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp rosemary
1 tsp paprika
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
6 cloves garlic, peel on, root end cut off
2 medium red onions, sliced into wedges
6 slices bacon, cut into pieces
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp white wine or champagne vinegar
1 tbsp water or chicken stock
6 oz baby spinach
1/3 cup fresh parsley
½ cup feta cheese, crumbled
Preheat oven to 425ºF. Cook the bacon until crisp, drain on paper towels, reserving 1 tbsp of the bacon drippings.
Cut potatoes half, or equal sized pieces, about 1 inch thick. Leave the skin on. In a large bowl, combine 3 tbsp olive oil, salt, pepper, rosemary, thyme and paprika. Add the potatoes and toss to coat. Place the potatoes and the garlic on a large baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes. Scatter the onion wedges among the potatoes and roast for an additional 15-20 minutes until the potatoes are tender and the onions have softened and lightly browned.
Remove the roasted garlic pieces and transfer the potatoes and onions to a large bowl. Drizzle with the reserved bacon drippings and set aside. Pop the roasted garlic out of the skins and mash with a fork. In a small bowl, whisk together the mashed garlic, Dijon, remaining 3 tbsp olive oil, vinegar and water.
Add the spinach, feta, bacon, parsley and dressing to the warm potatoes and fold to combine. Serve warm.