Friday, April 11, 2008

Small Potatoes are No Small Potatoes

potatoHave you noticed…? 

The Union Square Greenmarket has moved! To the south side of the park. It’s not as jarring as the Fulton Fish Market’s hike up to the Bronx, but it was shocking nonetheless. When the Italian and I rode up to the market on Wednesday in the dreamy afternoon sunshine, Vespa purring beneath us, we were traumatized to see the familiar Barnes & Nobles on our left, and nothing but an empty blacktop lot on our right. Where were the farmers? Where were the patrons? Where were the Spring potatoes I’d come in search of?!

Then relief, as we made our way down toward The Virgin Store…Potatoes, farmers, flowers all are there–on the south side. Whew!

I am ecstatic that Spring potatoes are back; tiny, dense, pinky finger-sized spuds in ruby, midnight blue and butter yellow have hit the market, and are ready for roasting. They’re not where they used to be, but they taste just as sweet. Come spring and outdoor flings, I chomp at the bit to make my famous potato salad. I know what you’re thinking: making potato salad on the first warm day of April is kinda like wearing shorts on the first warm day of May—a little over-reaching. And you’re right. It’s still too early for farmers’ market chives with gorgeous purple blossoms or summer dill that sweats its bright and earthy aroma. BUT. I LOVE potato salad, and the Italian (don’t hate him for his eccentric European ways), was wearing shorts!

With its creamy bite from the blend of crème fraiche and spicy mustard, and perfect smokiness owing to the pancetta, my irresistible Dijon Potato Salad is bound to be the party fave at your next potluck. And though we’re not quite there yet, come summer produce and backyard BBQ’s, the weather will only get warmer, the salad sweeter, and the Italian and I, well, sweatier!

Dijon Potato Salad with Crème Fraiche and Pancetta (serves a party)

· 5 lb Miniature Roasting Potatoes (pinky finger-size)

· 1 lb slab of Pancetta (cubed)

· 1 cup Crème Fraiche

· ½ cup Dijon Mustard

· ¼ cup Mayonnaise

· Half a Lime with Zest

· 1 cup Chives (chopped)

· 1 cup Dill (chopped)

· Salt and pepper

Rinse the potatoes and boil until tender in a pot of water for about 20 minutes. Check to make sure they are fork tender before draining.

In a separate frying pan, brown the pancetta till golden and crispy and remove from heat. Allow to drain on paper towels to remove excess grease.

Whisk the remaining ingredients together and adjust seasoning to suit your tastes. When both the pancetta and potatoes have cooled, add them to the mixture and allow the flavors to marry for at least an hour before serving. I prefer to make this dish a day in advance so the flavors get a chance to mingle and intensify.

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One Response to “Small Potatoes are No Small Potatoes”

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