Thursday, 1 October 2009

Buried treasure for next year

'Tis the season of mists, mellow fruitfulness and seed catalogues...Marshall's arrived yesterday, Plants of Distinction is on its way and on Monday, Thompson and Morgan emailed me to say that next year's seed potatoes are now available. T&M have served me well this year, from the heavenly Highland Burgundy Red potatoes to tomato Rosada to the mini patio greenhouse, so I didn't need much encouragement to buy seed potatoes from them for next year. I don't know why they're not offering the heritage collection again, and Skerry Blue has disappeared from the list. But dear old Highland Burgundy is there, and it was first onto my order. The yield isn't big, but it's one of the tastiest and most beautiful potatoes I know.I've chosen Red Duke of York as a first early, along with Sharpe's Express, which I seem to remember reading somewhere (Alan Romain's potato book??) has a fantastic flavour. International Kidney (aka Jersey Royal, but you're not allowed to call it that unless you're actually growing it in Jersey) is my second early, to be followed by Blue Danube - another purple stunner, and the knobbly and delicious Pink Fir Apple.
The most intriguing potato on the list was a new introduction: Vitelotte. It's another coloured beauty. The pic below is from the T&M site...
T&M's blurb says: 'Vitelotte (aka Negresse and Truffe de Chine) is our own registered clone of this old French variety, date unknown but probably early 1800s from Peru or Bolivia. An earlier maturing potato and with slightly larger tubers than Congo (which was phenomenally popular as a minituber last season). Potato Vitelotte has the same rich inky purple-black skin and flesh of Congo, rich in anthocyanin, and similarly with all coloured fleshed varieties they retain their colour most prominently if steamed in minimal water and not boiled. Makes visually stunning mash, chips, crisps, jackets and roasties.'
My guess is that like other coloureds, it'll fall apart if you don't watch it carefully when boiling. Does anyone actually steam potatoes? It's an idea I've only ever seen in seed catalogues which translates as: Look, we think this is a great potato but it's a bugger to cook and if you turn your back it will suddenly look like an exploded pillow so DON'T BLAME US. Anyway, how could I resist? So Vitelotte is on the order form.


Anonymous said...

These are so pretty, will add real colour to dishes.

We always steam our potatoes, I find the flavour is much stronger as they don't absorb so much water, particularly good for roasting where you're looking for crunch and mashed potatoes where you don't want wateriness.

fran39 said...

Thanks for that advice, Ginger. Do you cut them up smaller than for boiling? I'll give it a go with my exploding coloured pots.