For those who shop regularly at a conventional grocery store, it would appear that many items in the produce section don’t really have a season. Fresh beans, watermelon and an array of peppers can be found nearly year-round. Much of this is due to food being harvested and shipped thousands of miles to our area from outlying countries when local crops are not in production.
At the farmers markets, however, there will often be large gaps in availability for such crops, which can only be found during certain times of year.
There’s one crop that I get asked about probably more often than any other, and it can be quite hard to find at our farmers markets many months of the year. But it’s always prominently displayed at the grocery stores. That crop is potatoes.
Like tomatoes, eggplant and sugar snap peas, potatoes too have a local season, which often starts in the late spring and runs through the summer. As good as they get with regards to potatoes, freshly dug baby “new” potatoes are loaded with flavor, with a noticeable underlying sweetness.
New potatoes are sweeter than those that have gone further through their developmental stage because much of their natural sugars have yet to convert to starch. Excellent when steamed, boiled, roasted or fried, this seasonal staple is just starting to emerge at many local farms.
This week I prepared a fully loaded, nacho-style roasted new potato dish, using some freshly dug baby red potatoes. What you choose to top them with is up to you, but the cheese, bacon, salsa and guacamole are some of my favorites.
Roasted New Potato Nachos
1 pound baby new potatoes
Salt and pepper
1 cup shredded cheese (like cheddar, jack or similar)
3 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 cup cooked black beans, liquid strained 1 large ripe-firm avocado, diced
1 cup salsa, pico de Gallo if possible
1/4 cup diced red onion
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
Optional, sour cream
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut your new potatoes in half. In a mixing bowl, toss potatoes with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Place skin side down in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast, about 35 minutes or until fork tender with a crispy exterior. Top cooked potatoes with cheese and crumbled bacon, and place under the broiler for about 5 minutes. Plate and then top with black beans, salsa, avocado, red onion and cilantro.
Yield: Serves 4 sides.