It is no secret that one of my favorite chefs in Southern California is Suzanne Goin. Sometimes I am not sure whether I want to eat her food or make out with it. Chica has a wood-burning oven and she knows how to use it!
I also like her cooking because it's not only great, but it's accesible. Although her dishes are quite clearly gourmet, there's also something rustic and simple about them that makes it seem like, if someone only told me how, I could make them too.
So, imagine my delight when, within an article about creme fraiche in the L.A. Times food section, I came across a recipe based on Suzanne Goin's fingerling potatoes with creme fraiche. This is a dish I have eaten and loved, so I was excited to see if I could make it.
So I was having one of my typical Saturdays: it started out with me going with a friend just to get a cup of coffee. But then on the way, Mashti Malone's was mentioned and we decided that we really must have some after our coffee. But then on the way there, we decided we really should stop and check out the Hollywood Farmer's Market on our way to ice cream. And it was there that I found the potato lady. I don't remember what farm she was from, or her name, but all she had was potatoes, in several varieties, and they were gorgeous. As soon as I saw the several varieties of potatoes, I knew it was time to make this recipe. I decided on red pee wee fingerlings because it would be pretty, and the small size of the potatoes would make them quick to cook and mash.
This dish turned out beautifully. The recipe in the newspaper was a variation on Suzanne's and mine in turn was a variation on that but it was so, so good. It was melting in my mouth, all buttery and salty with a little tang of chives. I would make this any time I wanted mashed potatoes.
- 1 1/4 pounds small fingerling potatoes
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 4 tablespoons butter cut into pieces
- 3/4 teaspoon fleur de sel
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
- 6 tablespoons creme fraiche
- 1/2 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper
- 2 tablespoons sliced chives, 1 inch long
To be specific, here is what *I* used:
Red Pee Wee fingerlings
Instead of fleur de sel, Matiz Mediterraneo Spanish Flor de Sal
Italian flat-leaf parsley
Vermont Butter & Cheese Creme Fraiche
The article also had a recipe for making your own creme fraiche, but I am not that fancy ... not when I also have to work for a living. However, if you want to go for it, you can find out how here.
Now, to make the potatoes:
1. Place potatoes in a medium pot and cover with cold water by at least 4 inches. Add 1 tablespoon kosher salt. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat and simmer gently for about 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender when pierced. Drain the potatoes and set aside, reserving a cup of the potato water.
2. Return the potatoes to the pot over medium heat and smash them slightly with a hand masher. (Or if you're me ... mash them a lot. But not quite to mashed potato consistency, leave a few chunks).
3. Add the butter and fleur de sel. Stir to coat the potatoes with the butter.
4. Add about 3 tablespoons of the reserved potato water to help coat and glaze the potatoes. Adjust seasonings and stir in the parsley.
5. To serve, place potatoes on a serving plate. Top with a generous tablespoon of crème fraîche, a pinch of cracked black pepper and chives.