A good argument to be made about the farmer’s market is: if you really believe in it, and go there to support farmers and local, sustainable agriculture, you should patronize it all year, including those rough months of winter.
That is a good argument but, unfortunately, a rather impractical one. I mean when it’s bitter cold out, I can barely get myself out the front door, let alone 14 blocks north and 3 avenues east to the farmer’s market. In my own defense, though, when the weather turns nice? I’m there in a heartbeat.
And so it was that this past Saturday, when Spring finally started showing its face after a nasty winter, I marched my way northeast, breathing in the warm air and stopping at The Strand to peruse the cookbook table.
At the market itself, I ran into my friend Matt Lewis from “Baked” (@brooklynbaker on Twitter) which happens often if you go to the Union Square farmer’s market on a Saturday; you’ll very likely run into food people (in the past, I’ve run into/chatted with Ed Levine, Marco Canora and Regina Schramblng.)
On this particular Saturday, I loaded up on pears (some very pretty Boscs) and, because they popped out so dramatically on their table, a bagful of purple Peruvian potatoes.
And it’s those potatoes I’d like to talk to you about. They’re so pretty! And not only that, according to Heidi Swanson’s “Super Natural Cooking” (which our house guest Rena was reading from while I started cooking Sunday morning), they’re very good for you.
That is, until I get my hands on them! Here’s what I did….
I put the potatoes (like 12 potatoes or so) into a pot….
And covered the potatoes by an inch or two of cold water. I added a big sprinkling of salt, put the potatoes on the stove, turned up the heat, brought it to a boil, lowered it to a simmer and cooked until I could pierce a potato easily with a knife (about 15 to 20 minutes).
Then I drained the potatoes and put a dish towel over the colander to let the potatoes steam a bit more (I learned that trick from The Barefoot Contessa.)
While that was happening, I sliced up a small onion (one that I actually bought at the farmer’s market a few days earlier.) I also sliced up one or two cloves of garlic, I forget.
Here’s a purple potato sliced in half:
I cut all the potatoes into quarters and then put my cast iron skillet on the heat, turned it up to medium and let it heat up gradually. I wanted it very hot.
When it was very hot, I added a big splash of olive oil and then all of the potatoes:
I sprinkled the potatoes with salt and let them sit and caramelize for a minute or two. I saw the pan was getting dry, so I drizzled on more olive oil; it got dry again, and I added butter (about 2 tablespoons). Those potatoes like their fat.
Then I started moving them around a little, to let them caramelize on a different side. I put the onions right on top:
I stirred those in, added a pinch more salt and some pepper, and allowed the onions to color and caramelize too. Towards the end off that, I added the garlic (you don’t want your garlic to burn) and a pinch of red pepper flakes. I also added a big handful of spinach because I had it:
Doesn’t that look good? Look at those colors! (I really like the purple and green together.)
When it all tasted good (make sure to taste here to adjust), you scoop it on to plates and then you fry up an egg for each person and put the egg on top:
Here’s the finished plate, which I topped with pickled red jalapenos I’d made myself (it’s for a recipe in my cookbook so you’ll have to wait until 2012 or just use Google):
A pretty impressive breakfast dish, if I do say so myself, and my reward for returning–after a whole winter away–to the farmer’s market.