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New Year, New Potato

I’m not Jewish, but someone very close to me is, and I have lots and lots of friends who are, too. So what this means is, I inevitably celebrate the major holidays as they roll around (my favorite is Chanukah, of course, because latkes, I mean, really). Last fall we had a small group of four, and this year will be smaller still, but I think it’s nice to mark the slip into another year, even if quietly.

As I read over the post I wrote almost a year ago, I’m shocked (shocked!) to realize I have nearly the same menu planned. I suppose I could try to shake myself out of the rut I’ve fallen into, yet it’s such a delicious one I just don’t see the point. I hate messing with success — but in order to maintain some semblance of an adventurous spirit, I’ll take a deep breath and switch up the potatoes. I’m living on the edge, here.

Of course it’s rather not as scary as it seems, because I’ve been making roasted fingerling potatoes all summer long — or, at least from the time I discovered the Fillmore Farmers’ Market, a mere five-minute walk from where I live. I’ve roasted them, mashed them, boiled and churned them into soups … and I still can’t get enough. I’m trying not to think about that dark, awful time also known as mid-November-May when the market is closed for the season.

For these babies are sublime. They truly are. I would not have served
them at an important dinner party, nor would I have made them again and again for quick-and-easy weeknight suppers if they were not absolutely perfect.

{See? Cute fingerling potato, September 2007]

One of the greatest things about these little gems is the very fact of their littleness; you don’t need to peel or cut them up (caveat: no need to peel if they are organic; if not, I would) as you might with red or russet potatoes. You don’t even need to season them! All they want is a bit of olive oil, garlic, and salt, and a nice roast for about a half-hour until tender and steaming — their clean, pure taste needs little else, though I admit to running them through a pool of sour cream from time to time, and adding an extra sprinkle of salt once cooked.

Simple, yes; inelegant, never.

Thus, my Rosh Hashanah (a couple days late, but it’s the effort that counts) dinner is a simple — and vegetarian — one, but it incorporates produce from local and organic farms, which I think is a fine way to start off a new year. In addition to the requisite round and glossy challah loaf, I’ll make matzo ball soup (like latkes — any excuse); chickpeas, garlic, and baby chard; roasted cauliflower; roasted fingerlings; a big market salad; and a tarte tatin. Those with good memories (or who clicked the link above) will see this is an almost exact reprise of last year’s feast, albeit with a few tweaks. I’ve been working all week, though, so I’ll give myself a pass on the creativity aspect.

Shanah Tova!

Roasted fingerlings with garlic

This is a very loose recipe, and who am I to say that fresh rosemary or even finely chopped basil wouldn’t make a nice complement? It’s just that I never have enough time, and these potatoes helps me round out a quick meal nearly every week. Plus, did I mention? They’re delicious. I try to always keep some in the fridge.

10 or so fingerling potatoes, scrubbed
2 cloves garlic, pressed
olive oil

Oven to 400 F. Put the potatoes and garlic in a bowl. Dump in about 2-4 Tb. olive oil, and add salt to your taste. Mix thoroughly until the potatoes are well-coated with the oil and salt.

Place potatoes in a baking dish and roast for about 30 minutes, checking to make sure they do not get too dry. Shake the pan every once in awhile, and add a bit more oil if necessary. Remove from oven when potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork.

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