Messy Potatoes

Some of the best things are born of near disasters, and that applies to cooking. If every dish turned out perfectly, where would that leave creativity? If you haven’t seen the Netflix series, The Chef’s Table, I highly recommend it. Watch acclaimed cooks in action, and hear their stories of disaster, success and everything in between. In my favorite segment, the pastry chef drops a dessert tart and begins to implode until the head chef looks at it with a different perspective, a deconstructed one, and reinvents it into, Oops! I dropped the lemon tart. Learning to save a dish is a talent, and as Julia Child was fond of saying, “never apologize” for your cooking.

So where am I going with this? I love creamy Yukon Gold potatoes. Something that good doesn’t require much fuss, and I have a recipe perfect for showing them off. Essentially, I slice them into 1/4 inch rounds and steam them for about 15 minutes until soft. Then I remove them from the pan along with the steamer, and return them to dry them off. And here’s where I learned a lesson. Instead of worrying about keeping their shape intact, I add olive oil, smoked paprika, and salt/pepper, and stir them, allowing them to break up and absorb the oil and seasonings. Simple. Yes. And you just can’t go wrong. A little of the paprika goes a long way, and I’m careful not to over smoke them, but as always, cook to your palate!

If you’re saying to yourself, what about all those carbs, I have some thoughts. The first is to choose small potatoes so the skin to flesh ratio is higher. Second, you were going to eat those skins and benefit from the nutrients, right? And third, waxy potatoes are lower in starch and thus have less of an effect on your blood sugar than the standby russet that you slather with butter and eat with steak. And last, consider whether you want to be a food purist, or if you can feel okay eating a variety of foods, eating less of some and enjoying them more. There’s a lot to be said for the happiness factor and how it positively impacts your health. Sometimes, that’s just as important as anything else.

Messy Potatoes
4 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
3 tablespoons or more extra virgin olive oil (use the good stuff)
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika or to taste
salt and pepper to taste

Steam the potatoes until tender but not falling apart, about 15 minutes; remove from the stove and put the potatoes aside. Remove the steamer from the pan and empty the pan of any remaining water. Return the potatoes to the pan and dry them over medium heat, stirring as needed. Add the olive oil, smoked paprika, and seasoning. Keep stirring them allowing the potatoes to break up slightly and absorb the olive oil and seasonings. Add more olive oil if they seem too dry. Serve immediately.
Yields 4 – 6 servings

SHOUTOUT: It’s hot outside so check out Canarino Gelato in downtown Edmonds. They recently moved to a bigger space and are making 24 kinds of gelato on site. Coffee lovers try the affogato, your favorite gelato bathed in two shots of espresso.

Tidbit: look for garlic scapes at the farmers markets. They’re the flowering part of the garlic bulb and are delicious sautéed. Removing them helps the garlic bulb to form, so it’s a win-win!