Good grief, you hardly thought I would let Christmas go by without tackling the subject of roasties, now, did you?
Proper roast potatoes. It just ain't Christmas dinner without 'em.
Though I may have spouted on at some length on the topic of roast potatoes last year, my 12-step roastie program didn’t really address the question of how our most popular potato varieties stack up when it comes to roasting. I’m here today to fix that.
Inspired somewhat by last year’s piece in the Guardian Word of Mouth blog which compared three varieties of British potato, roasted using formulae from four well-known chefs, I loosened my belt and set about the task of roasting several different kinds of Irish spud.
Step one was a trip to my local fruit-and-veg emporium… Continue reading
So, if you were looking for someone to go and talk spuds with a commercial potato grower, who would you ask?
It seems, what with the new potato season upon us, that the folks from Bord Bia were pondering that very question lately. The result of their ponderings was that they came knocking upon my door.
Soon afterward, I found myself in the middle of a potato field in North County Dublin having a most illuminating, spud-filled conversation. You can read all about it over on the Best in Season website, but I’m also including the full text here.
I am indebted to my interviewee Barry for his time and his candor. Enjoy.
Barry's field of Kerr's Pink potatoes
Update 3/12/09: It has been brought to my attention that Rose was rather horrified by the mention of tights in the context of this post. Fergal has admitted that he may have been deluded on this point – after all, he had never made boxty himself – and I believe that it is Rose’s view that tights would not be used in this way in modern civilised society. Apologies, Rose – the post has been amended to reflect this view.
“You’ll need tights,” said Fergal (though, as you may have gathered, he was ultimately mistaken on this point).
“Er, ‘scuse me…?”
We were arranging a visit to Fergal’s mammy, Rose, for a boxty-making session. Fergal, as it turns out, was referring not to a dress code for the visit (phew), but to the tights one might (or, as it turns out, might not) use to squeeze grated raw potato – boxty’s principal ingredient.
It had been many months since I first heard my friend Fergal wax lyrical about his mammy’s boxty and I had been pestering him for the recipes ever since. While boxty is a very traditional Irish potato dish, it is not something that was ever made in my family, and remained a significant gap in my potato repertoire. This was my chance to get the low-down on same from a native of Leitrim, where boxty is big.
Rose demonstrates just how boxty is done