When I got home from Jordan, there was a big box waiting for me and inside that box I found four bags of beautiful potatoes from The Little Potato Company. As you might have guessed, they sell a variety of little potatoes in the class called "creamers". Commercial potatoes are divided into 4 categories : Large, medium, small and creamers, all based on size and this company only grows creamers, which means that every potato is is between 3/4" and 1 5/8" and they are as adorable as they are delicious.
To work with, I had some pink skinned, Blushing Belles that were first bred in Germany and two bags of Something Blues in there. My job was to play around with these little babies and come up with a recipe or two that would showcase their considerable attribute.
The Little Potato Company has two facilities, one in Edmonton and one in PEI and they work with potato breeders from Holland to South America to produce real their various types of tater.
WHAT? THERE IS A SUCH A THING AS A POTATO BREEDER?
To be honest, much of what we get at the grocery store are just starchy and flavourless, with all of the diversity and character bred out of them, at this point but we get used to what we eat over time. These potatoes are all natural, they are not genetically modified and because they have been triple washed, you can just cook them straight out of the bag. Honestly, most of us wouldn't know a great quality potato if it punched us in the head - that is until you taste a really good potato. I have been ruined and I don't think I can go back to my regular, grocery store potato. And did I mention that they are really, really cute?
The first thing I did was just boil them so I could taste them. The Blues are a bit larger so they took about 15 minutes to cook while the tiny Blushing Belles were fork tender in about 10 minutes. I just rolled them in some butter, sprinkled on some kosher salt and let me tell you, these potatoes were really delicious with a nice, creamy texture. These Blues, originally bred in Chile, were greatI loved just roasted with a bit of olive oil and kosher salt until they get nice and crispy on the outside . The flesh is yellow with purple streaks and the skin stays a pretty dark purple so it's a good looking potato to add to dishes that would otherwise be kind of bland looking. I have plans to also use them in a Jordanian dish with lamb and a tahini sauce and that recipe will be coming up soon but, for now, it's all about the other ones.
Every Christmas Eve, we have an open house and, of course, we put on a huge spread. Last year it was all about Spanish Tapas but this year, since we have just returned from the Middle East, we will do mezzes. There will be traditional stuff, for sure, but I like to throw in a few things that are inspired by the cuisine but are a bit different.
The minute I laid my eyes on the tiny Blushing Belles, I knew exactly what I was going to do with them. I wanted to make individual sized crashed potatoes with some za'atar that I had brought back with me. I really liked the idea of making something that you could just pick up and pop in your mouth that really utilizes the small size and keeps them intact. As a nod to Jordan, I used the King's favourite za'atar and black olives because Jordan is the 8th largest exporter of olive oil and they eat olives at every meal and so should you.
These are highly addictive so don't say I didn't warn you.
clearly, I received these potatoes free of charge to use but if I didn't like them, I would not have shared them with you so opinions, as always, for better or for worse, are always my own
I call them The King's potatoes because I am using The King of Jordan's favourite za'atar, according to the guy who sold it to me, but you can use any za'atar you can find. Loblaws sells Jordanin za'atar in the international section if you aren't lucky enough to live near a middle eastern market that is on speaking terms with the King of Jordan
This is a very loosey goosey recipe so I am not giving exact measurments.
1 bag of Blushing Belles (1.5 lbs)
*za'atar (probably about 3 or 4 tbls but it's up to you)
cured black olives ( use whatever olives you prefer but make sure you are using good olives, with pits and not canned or jarred with pimentos in them)
Preheat the oven to 450F
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and throw in your potatoes. Cook for about 9 or 10 minutes, until fork tender.
remove the pits from your olives. Cured olives are kind of wrinkly looking and soft and you can just squeeze the pit out with your fingers. Chop the olives. How many you use is up to you. I love olives so I was quite liberal with them and used a scant 1/5 cup of whole olives. Set aside.
Get a baking sheet and pour enough olive oil that you can coat the bottom of the baking sheet with the oil. Put the potatoes on the sheet and then put another baking sheet on top and push down so that you can smash them all simultaneously. You want to smash them enough so that they are flattened like little pucks but still stay together. Then take a potato masher and gently mash them a bit more, rotating the masher so they are thinner but still hold together.
Put some olive oil in a bowl and use a brush to brush all of the potatoes with oil. Sprinkle them with kosher salt.
Lay a little pinch of chopped olive on each potato and then sprinkle a good pinch of za'atar on each potato.
Pop the baking sheet in the oven on the top rung and cook them for 20 to 25 minutes. You want the edges to brown and crispy.
Remove from the oven and let cool, put them out on a tray and watch them disappear. I think the King would approve.
|not gonna lie - we have been eating them with just about every meal and they make a great breakfast potato and a nice change from hash browns or home fries|