Pigs, Potatoes, Peas…Oh My!

Another Sunday shopping at Tendercrop and what a difference a week makes.  Boy, is it ever cold today; where has the sun gone?  On vacation?  If so, I want to know exactly where and I’ll be there as soon as I can book my trip out of here.

Unlike me, Tendercrop’s animals seem little fazed by the day’s alternating periods of mist, rain, and drizzle.  I made friends with all these guys today and they tell me life’s okay on the farm, even in the rain.

But the animals and I would like you to know that Tendercrop is a very good farm for produce too.

Exhibit A, their multi colored radishes.

Their purple fingerling potatoes.

And vibrant green peas.

And although they weren’t local, I couldn’t pass up a few blushing, fleshy, ripe apricots (to top a Mascarpone Cream-Apricot Tart intended for dessert).

I brought all these things home, plus some home grown beef.  Steak tips took a brief turn in a marinade (a half cup of balsamic vinegar, a couple of spoons of brown sugar, a couple of pressed garlic cloves, one teaspoon of dried oregano, some salt and pepper) before heading into a hot pan.  For dinner: thinly sliced, flavorful pan-grilled beef.

What to accompany?  The almost dainty size of the purple potatoes suggested to me potato salad.  Cut them in half to steam cook them?  Hardly any work at all.

And because I’m a greedy girl, I really wanted the peas too, together with the potatoes.  Sweet almost waxy peas, sweet almost waxy new potatoes – believe it or not, peas and potatoes work really well together in a salad, either dressed in a lemony-bacon-bacon fat dressing, or boosted from that simpler vinaigrette-style salad to something creamier with the addition of a few spoons full of buttermilk-parmesan dressing (as featured in last week’s Newburyport Daily News).

Purple Potato and Pea Salad

  • 2 slices bacon, diced
  • 1 1/2 pounds purple or white fingerling potatoes, cut into uniform pieces
  • 1 cup freshly shelled peas
  • 3 Tbsp. finely chopped chives
  • 1 Tbsp. white wine or champagne vinegar
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • a few spoons of buttermilk-parmesan dressing (optional)

Fry the diced bacon until the pieces are uniformly browned and crisp.  Remove the pan containing the bacon and fat from the heat, add the juice of 1/2 lemon, stir, and set aside.

Place the cut potatoes in a basket steamer and steam, covered, over boiling salted water until barely tender when pierced with a fork. While the potatoes are steaming, place the chopped chives, vinegar a pinch of salt, and a few grinds of pepper together in a glass bowl or dish.  Stir and set aside.

During the last minute of steaming the potatoes, add the peas to the basket, cover, and continue steaming for another minute.  Remove the basket from the large pot of water.  Turn the potatoes and peas into the glass bowl or dish with the vinegar and chives.  Toss to coat.  Let the vegetables sit until they reach room temperature.

When these are room temperature, add to the bowl the bacon-lemon dressing.  Stir to coat the potatoes and peas.  Add salt and pepper to correct seasoning.

If a creamy potato salad is desired, fold in about a quarter-cup of buttermilk-parmesan dressing to the already bacon-dressed salad, and stir to coat the potatoes, peas, and bacon well.

Serve the salad alongside any indoor or outdoor grilled meat and your favorite greens.

©2011  Jane A. Ward