A few back weeks, Keith from Wil-Moore Farms (www.wil-moorefarms.com) brought me something thing other than his awesome eggs: beautiful baby potatoes. I knew their origin at sight--the Green Grocer on Wadmalaw Island, owned by Celeste and George Albers. These two farmers grow some of the most prized vegetables in the Lowcountry, coveted by chefs from Charleston and beyond. We will be showcasing the baby heirloom potatoes for the next several weeks.
I worked for Celeste years ago while taking some time off from cooking. The pay barely covered the cost of my gas to drive out to Wadmalaw Island, but that didn't matter. I was planting and harvesting and taking care of the 800 chickens, along with getting to drive tractors. (Tractors--fun. Chicken poo--not fun.) You look at food differently after working on a farm.
Since my first load of potatoes arrived last week, I have received about three hundred pounds of various heirloom babies. One of the amazing things about heirloom vegetables is that there are hundreds of variations to be had. This genetic diversity is a good thing for our food supply and for our bellies. (Remember what happened with the Irish potato blight in 1845?)
The varieties you see in the picture above are, from left to right, "Nicole," "Austrian Crescent" and "All Blue." Who doesn't like a fried potato? So, why not (drumroll please) . . . fry them twice? I wish I could take credit for this idea, but I didn't invent the recipe. Here's how it happens. In the picture below TJ''s parcooking the potatoes in 300 degree vegetable oil.
Here's what they look like after that:
When the potatoes are tender you remove them from the oil and let them cool on a clean linen. Then, turn your oil up until it reaches 375 degrees. Once your oil has reached the desired temperature, fry the suckers again until the skins are crispy. Remove and toss in salt and pepper.
Don't get sue-happy on me if you try this at home, people. The potatoes are hot, okay? Act accordingly.
Here's a picture of the finished product:
Tonight we are serving the double-fried potatoes with a chive creme fraiche and a truffled mayo for dipping. Lurking outside the frame are four servers, a bartender, a chef, three line cooks, and a restaurant owner waiting to dig in. Everyone loves potatoes.