Thursday, May 28, 2009

Smashed Fingerling Potatoes with Peas and Onions

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 Tossed some outdated things from the back.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!

n.o.e.'s notes:

- 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.

the verdict:

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.

25 comments:

Engineer Baker said...

Hehe - sneaky little freezers, aren't they? I'm always impressed by how much you sock away in them though. I lose things in my tiny apt freezer!

Audrey said...

Oh, my new ice cream maker bowl and I sympathize with your problem...but we're both looking longingly at your solution! What a yummy combination! And we agreed with you on dill (yuck), just for the record.

Jessica said...

That looks so delicious! I'm always looking for "interesting" side dishes and this one definitely fits the bill. I'm right there with you on peeling the fingerlings -- absolutely not! Too tedious and I question how much potato would be left at the end of the process.

Madam Chow said...

I LOVE this post. I completely related to things disappearing in the freezer. Things are so out of hand here that I can't fit an ice cream maker bowl in either my kitchen or stand alone freezer.

pinkstripes said...

I love smashed fingerling potatoes, but usually just have them plain with salt and pepper. This sounds great.

Love your freezer stories!

Debinhawaii said...

I have been wanting to try this one--it looks delicious!

Natashya said...

That's the problem with freezers, you have to watch them every minute! Sneaky things..
A great side, I am all for spuds, peas and lemon! And yes to the skins, who has the time or inclination to peel a potato?

Tracey said...

I'm so jealous that you have two freezers! My one freezer is working overtime to deal with all of the stuff I cram in there. This potato dish looks fabulous! I've never had fingerling potatoes but I keep meaning to try them.

Cathy said...

I'm so glad to finally get a clearer picture of your freezer situation! It looks like we have the same freezer configuration (side by side upstairs, top & bottom downstairs) but at least you have a system for your freezers (I don't), even if it does spin out of control once in a while. Sounds like you've done a great job bringing some order to your freezer chaos of late. This dish sounds fantastic. I love my potatoes mashed (smashed) and Tyler's extras can only improve an aleady good thing. Love what you did with these - they look great!

Barbara said...

I wish I had room for two freezers! I have to borrow a neighbor's when I entertain. I love fingerling potatoes; usually I just roast them, but what a great idea to throw in whatever you have leftover.

ARLENE said...

My SO would love this dish--he adores peas. Good thing the men think we buy Tyler's cookbooks for the recipes. I think we should survey blogdom as to what Tyler should wear...or not...on his next cover.

Megan said...

I have two freezers as well - and I hear you on the "cleaning out" part. In fact, I took out two containers today for the weekend. I'm not quite sure what they are..........

Anyways, potatoes, peas and onions are a great combo!

karen said...

i never freeze anything and i really should start. my man likes tyler's food too, he never has anything bad to say. these potatoes sound like the perfect side dish, i'll have to remember them.

The Food Librarian said...

I love this! Looks like the perfect meal.

Elyse said...

Hahha, I wish I had more room in my freezer. Stuff still falls out of it, but that's only because it doesn't hold much. Anyway, seems like you have your freezers under control now :) This dish looks absolutely fabulous!! I adore peas, and adding them to potatoes and onions is just genius. Sorry I've been away for the past week; I had a good friend in town and wasn't able to do much on the computer. I'm back now, though :)

Kim said...

Sounds like a great combo and I'm totally with you on the freezer situation. Mine is packed with fruit juices, uncooked meat, and who knows what else. Sounds like you're doing a good job of cleaning out your freezers!!

Jenny said...

Nice to know a pasta man would like this - got one a pea hater would like? I love peas myself, but can't get my hubby to eat them.

Jennifer said...

Watching Tyler Florence on an elliptical...now there's a happy workout!

This dish looks amazing!

Jamie said...

I love fingerling potatoes!!! I so want to make these!!! YUM

Sweet as Coco said...

I feel your freezer pain. I finally cleaned mine out too--and then...re-filled it.

Kayte said...

Fun to hear about those famous/infamous freezers you have over there...ones who store things and ones who steal things! This recipe looks so great...just the colors make me want to sit down with it on my plate. Going there soon.

natalia said...

Ciao Nancy ! I'm afraid these freezers are part of an international program to take over and rule the world !!!Yummy potatoes !

Teanna said...

Haha That Tyler DOES know how to make good food - and so do you! Those look gorgeous! I LOVE smashed potatoes!

I WISH I had two refrigerators! It would make my life so much easier!

Melissa said...

I have the same problems in my freezer! This dish looks great, I love unique new side dishes.

Jessica said...

I meant to leave you a comment last week, but I forgot. I made this recipe with some fresh shell peas that I got at the farmers market and it was absolutely delicious! I am so glad that you posted this because I'd never have thought of, or found it, otherwise.