Potatoes are dressed with a smooth rich crème fraîche sauce with fresh chopped herbs and a bit of grated lemon zest.
Potatoes aren’t new, they aren’t trendy, and they don’t garner much attention. The humble little potato as it’s often referred to is the soft-spoken cast member of the “vegetable play,” playing the supporting role but never the star. It’s relegated to side dishes where it’s mashed beyond recognition, stuffed with loads of cheese, butter and vegetables or drowned out by bolder flavors in a myriad of other preparations.
One of the most omnipresent and abundant of vegetables, the potato is the essence of simplicity. Which leads me to ask – why is something so splendidly simple not enough? Why drown the potato in things that will mask its true flavor?
If you have good potatoes, like creamy little new potatoes or fingerling potatoes, sometimes the best way to eat them is to steam or boil them and serve them simply.
Growing up, my family would make a meal of potatoes. We would boil small new potatoes in their skins and serve them with butter and parsley or crème fraîche and chives, and if we were feeling particularly indulgent, maybe a little grated Parmesan. There’s a great sense of pleasure in the known and anticipated taste of preparing potatoes in this manner that I urge you not to dismiss it because of its simplicity.
The French call potatoes prepared in this manner “pommes de terre en robe des champs,” which refers to potatoes prepared with their skins on, but literally translates to “potatoes in a dress of the fields.” It’s also sometimes referred to as “pommes de terre en robe de chambre” which is most likely a perversion of the first saying but one I find quite charming as it translates to “potatoes in their bathrobes” which I think is a lovely way to describe potatoes.
Oddly enough, although they are prepared and served with the skin on, the French don’t eat the skins and will slip them off before consuming the potatoes. I offer this recipe in the spirit of elevating the overlooked to a more prominent role. Warm creamy potatoes are dressed with smooth rich crème fraîche, fresh chopped herbs and lightly perfumed with a bit of grated lemon zest and a squeeze of lemon juice.