New potatoes are freshly harvested young potatoes, which, unlike fully grown ones, keep their shape when cooked and cut. Since their sugars haven't yet converted into starch, they tend to be sweeter than larger potatoes, making them especially good for salads. They are crisp and waxy inside and have paper-thin skins.
How to Choose and Store Them
Choose new potatoes that are blemish-free, dry and firm. It is fine if the skin is peeling or flaking off. Remember, unwashed ones keep longer because the dirt protects them somewhat from deterioration and bruising. Keep new potatoes in the refrigerator or a cool, dark and well-ventilated place, and use them within a few days.
Like most of us Houstonians, new potatoes are most comfortable at room temperature—neither too hot nor too cold. This means they like to grow in warm spring temperatures, maturing before the heat of summer arrives. This is the time of year when new potatoes start to come into season, and you should certainly look out for them in the grocery store during the coming weeks.
How to Prepare and Cook New Potatoes
New potatoes don't have to be peeled. You just need to rinse them to get rid of any dirt, then cook them whole. Simmer them in lightly salted water for 10 minutes or until tender, then drain and add butter and chopped fresh parsley. Serve them with spring lamb or roast chicken, adding al dente green asparagus spears to finish the dish.
Roasted new potatoes are also very good. Drizzle one layer of new potatoes with olive oil in a roasting pan then grind over some salt. Roast them at 375 degrees for 25 minutes or until tender and golden brown. New potatoes are great in potato salad too, and you can add them whole to stew recipes.
In a Starring Role at: Rudy's Country Store & Bar-B-Q
With several Houston locations to choose from, big chain Rudy's Country Store & Bar-B-Q is one example of a place that's known for its sides as much as it is for barbecue. New potatoes make a tasty side dish for all kinds of meals. At Rudy's, you can pair your seasonal new potatoes with ribs, brisket, pork loin, a pulled pork or turkey sandwich, or even a selection of their tasty breakfast tacos. If you want other sides with your barbecue and new potatoes, try the green chile stew or corn on the cob.
Recipe: New Potatoes with Butter and Parsley
Butter and parsley have a natural affinity with new potatoes, helping to showcase their fresh flavor and smooth texture. You can use white or red-skinned new potatoes in the following recipe, or even a mixture of both. Try this side dish, which makes six servings, with pan-fried salmon or roasted chicken. Add a seasonal green vegetable to round out the meal. Leftovers can be added to a salad the following day, or enjoyed cold with deli meats and a pickle.
- 3 pounds new potatoes
- 3/4 stick butter
- 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 6 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 minced garlic clove (optional)
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add a pinch of salt. Add the potatoes and simmer for 20 minutes or until tender. Melt the butter in a large skillet over a medium-high heat. Add the potatoes, lemon zest and juice, 4 tablespoons of the parsley, and some salt and black pepper. Add the garlic too, if using. Cook for 5 minutes or until the potatoes are golden brown, stirring often. Serve hot, sprinkled with the remaining parsley.
Stay tuned every week to learn more about what's fresh and exciting at the market and discover where you can enjoy the flavorful bounty of the season.