The potatoes were mostly hiding under the layer of peas.
Our house has two refrigerators: upstairs and downstairs, and each has a freezer. Upstairs is side-by-side and I use the freezer mainly for ingredients. That's where I stash the citrus zest, ground almonds and pecans, bacon lardons, ice cream maker bowl, frozen cookie dough, frozen berries and veggies, and uncooked meat. Downstairs is a top-freezer model, and it holds mostly prepared food: the soups I’ve got leftover, pans of lasagne or macaroni and cheese, cooked pasta sauces in zippered bags. It’s all very neat in theory but the reality is a good deal murkier.
I ask a lot of my freezers. And generally they seem happy to help. But lately, I’ve noticed signs that my freezers were beginning to feel, well, used. A little freezer burn here, a few things falling out there. And the biggest clue: my downstairs freezer hid my devil’s food cupcakes from me. I had seen the half dozen cupcakes a few days earlier, but when I went to pull them out to bring to book group one Thursday they had vanished into the icy netherworld. I had the chocolate ganache from the upstairs freezer, but no cupcakes to put it on. So I went with plan B: half of the 15 Minute Magic cake (also from the upstairs freezer, thank goodness.)
Things got to the point where I began to dread opening either freezer, and I think the freezers felt the same. I had a full-fledged freezer crisis on my hands. So I began to chip away at the overcrowding in the downstairs freezer. Tossed some outdated things from the back. Took out some lasagne for dinner. Stacked some things a bit neater. And know what? The freezer began to reciprocate. The cupcakes suddenly reappeared right in front of my eyes. Just like they'd always been right there. I could see little pockets of free space.
I kept going - thawed some bean soup for lunch. Gathered the Ziploc bags of chicken bones and simmered up a lovely batch of stock (and there was room in the freezer to put the 3 quarts of stock I made!) And I paid attention to cooking with some of the ingredients I'd stashed in the freezer and promptly forgotten.
And now we get to the subject of this post! I was watching Tyler's Ultimate on the elliptical at the Y, and saw Tyler prepare these Smashed Potatoes as a side dish/base for his salt and pepper salmon. I've made and loved the salmon, but this time I was intrigued with those potatoes. They looked delicious, and best of all, they could help me with my freezer crisis. I had half a bag of pearl onions hanging around and a huge bag of frozen peas. To cap off the perfection: I'd just picked up some beautiful fingerlings in the farm box, and I could accent the dish with herbs from my garden. I loved this dish before I even set foot in the kitchen to prepare it!
- I used what was in my bag of pearl onions - approximately 8 oz rather than the 10 oz specified in the recipe
- 1.5 lb fingerling potatoes, which I boiled as instructed. I left peel on, though. No way was I going to peel those little fingerlings. Plus, I really like potato skins.
- Because my onions were a bit short, I only used 16 oz of frozen green peas (Tyler calls for 20)
- I reduced the amount of lemon in the dish; for us lemon can easily dominate savory dishes.
- I left out the dill - can't abide the taste of it, unfortunately - and instead used a handful of mixed herbs: flat leaf parsley, oregano, and thyme from my little kitchen garden.
- I didn't have water cress, so I planned to substitute arugula, but when the dish was ready and hot I was too lazy to go to the downstairs fridge to fetch it.
We loved this dish - and I'd say that even if it didn't help me so much with the freezer sitation. It makes a great side dish, especially for Spring, with peas and new potatoes. The picture up top doesn't reflect the perfect balance between peas and potatoes (the potatoes are under the layer of peas).
After tasting his portion, my husband stated, "That Tyler, he knows how to make good food." And that's high praise coming from a guy who would take rice or pasta over a potato dish any day.
And me? I gotta love any dish that we can eat 3 days in one week (and not be tired of it) and even more, one that helped me thaw my relationship with my freezers.
I'm sending this off to Tyler Florence Fridays, a weekly roundup of bloggers cooking Tyler's recipes. Stop by and see what everyone has been cooking up! I'm also submitting it to the Frugal Fridays event on Madam Chow's blog - featuring dishes made from ingredients on hand.