Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Violet! You're turning violet, Violet! (pt. 1)

This will be a 3 series entry, broken up by course for the sake of avoiding picture and research overload.

The inspiration for these entries came from my intentions of making one of the umpteen Hams that my husband so proudly dragged home, two 10lb hunks at a time (right along with his club - Me Man! Me bring Meat!). Not much else is as satisfying to me as a lovely glazed ham. It's salty sweet meat is a treat to my insatiable sweet tooth that is so bad, it prefers even DINNER to be sweet.

But I wanted to think outside the ordinary-glazed box. Not brown sugar. Jesus Lord no pineapple.. I had done a nice fig balsamic glaze on the Ham for Christmas. Thinking dark, I thought, “why not blueberries?”. Blueberries lend themselves extraordinarily well to delicate meats like lamb and pork. I've been wanting to try blueberries on a savory dish for a good while now, so this was my opportunity.

With that settled, I was in Dean & Deluca (shocker) when I ran across some All Blue baby potatoes and some gorg French Violet figs. Eureka! App and dessert, right here. Now to just figure out the schematics..

So here is the first course. I decided to do a Blue Potato and Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette. To keep as much of the potatoes integrity and nutrient value as possible, I opted to steam them with the skins on after being stabbed with a fork a few times for ventilation purposes. The color of the potatoes can be diminished through boiling and being cooked after peeling.

Blue Potato and Spinach Salad w/Warm Bacon Vinaigrette

8 c. Spinach (or any mixed green you like)
4-8 All Blue Potatoes (depending on size)

8 slices Bacon - diced
1 Shallot – minced
2 Garlic cloves – minced
3/4 c. Oil
1/4 c. Brown Sugar
1/3 c. White Wine Vinegar (or raspberry vinegar or even balsamic *I personally used an apple balsamic)
White Pepper & Salt TT

Grated Parmesan (optional)

* Wash and dry your greens (Yes, even if you buy them “pre-washed” in a bag – Please don't entrust the cleanliness of your produce to others). Keep in the fridge, covered, to keep crisp.

* Scrub potatoes under cold running water with a vegetable brush. Fork each potato over a few times and steam for 20-30 minutes until just tender. Set aside to cool (and once cooled, gently peel the skins off and cut into quarters. Or if the skin is in really good shape, feel free to leave on.)

* In a hot saute pan, render bacon for a few minutes – add in shallots and garlic and saute for 1-2 minutes before adding in the rest of the ingredients. Mix well and season. Keep warm.

* Divide spinach among 4 salad plates and top with desired amount of potatoes. Drizzle warm bacon vinaigrette over everything and sprinkle with cheese if desired. (Serves 4)

Peeling cooked potatoes – Isn't that purple gorgeous?!
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Bacon Vinaigrette
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All Blue Potatoes

They might be new to you but blue potatoes have been harvested for thousands of years now. A small medium-starched tuber, they are just like their thin-skinned cousins, the more popularly known Red Bliss, but what makes these potatoes unique is the photochemical that give them their violet hue. That photochemical is the same one that give other fruits and vegetables, like red cabbage, blueberries, and pomegranates, their coloring. It's also what gives them their great antioxidant properties.

It has also been discovered that blue potatoes, who grow very close to the surface of the soil, developed their purple pigmentation as a means of shielding themselves from excessive ultraviolet light given off by the sun's rays.