Purple Peruvian Potato and a quick Frittata recipe


(If you are reading this post on a RSS reader, you might want to click through to Chez Pim for the slideshow.)

Have you tried these beautiful Purple Peruvian potatoes? They really
are strikingly purple both inside and out, and the color remains even
after cooking. As the name implies, these potatoes were cultivated
first in Peru, by the Inca who –apparently- considered them food for
the gods.

I found Cynthia and Scott harvesting these weird looking potatoes up at
the garden on Friday. From afar they looked, well, quite like, um,
black turds. But a closer inspection revealed a beautiful opalescent
shine on the dark skin. A spud in metalic purple skin, how cool is
that?

A few people were up at the garden that morning, and as the sun shone
brighter we were getting hungry. It fell to me to whip up something
quick to feed us, so I decided to use these gorgeous potatoes to bulk
up some eggs for a quick Frittata fit for a crowd.

The usual Frittata recipe calls for cooking the eggs first on the
stovetop for 15-20 minutes on very low flame, then another 5-10 minutes
pass under the broiler at the end. But, as I said, we were getting
quite hungry. So I devised a shortcut to cook the Frittata quicker.

First, instead of simply pouring the eggs on to a pan and let it cook on a low flame for over 15 minutes, I heat up my pan to high, then cook up the eggs, whipping quickly as if I am making scrambled eggs. When the eggs begin to set a bit, I turn the flame to low and add all my vegetables (pre-cooked) and herbs and push them into the setting egg. When the eggs are almost set, leaving a layer of wetness just on the top, I move the pan off the fire and directly to the broiler. Broil for just a few minutes until the top blisters up in places and the egg is set. Voila, you are done!

By cooking the eggs like scarmbled eggs in the beginning, I cut down the cooking time from 15 minutes on the stovetop alone to just a few minutes. And, with only a couple more minutes under the hot broiler, your Frittata will be done before your guests finish arguing over how many Ts there are in the word Frittata. The quickie Frittata will turn out quite beautifully too. I love shortcuts when they work, don’t you?

For this Frittata, I scoured around the garden to find other ingredients that would go well with the potatoes and eggs. I found some fresh green garlic, young zucchini and some nice herbs, all of which helped make this Frittata as delicious to look at as it was to eat.

Quick Frittata with Purple Peruvian and Zucchini

12 eggs
2-3 cups Purple Peruvian potatoes, cut crosswise into 1cm-thick rounds
1 cup zucchini, cut crosswise into 1 cm-thick rounds
3 stalks of green garlic, thinly sliced (use only about the bottom 5 inches of the stalk)
a big handful of Fines Herbes (equal amount of parsley, chive, tarragon, and chervil)
Salt and pepper to taste
4 1½ tbsp butter (1 ½ for cooking the potatoes, ½ for the zucchini, ½ for the garlic, and 2 more for the eggs)

First you cook the potatoes by sauteing them in a pan with a bit more than one tablespoon of butter and a little salt. Cook over medium-low flame, stirring frequently, until the potatoes are cooked through and soft. They are not going to be cooked much more in the Frittata itself, so be sure to cook them here until done. Set the potato aside and follow the same instructons again, this time with the zucchini. Cook until done and set aside. Now the green garlic, saute the thinly sliced garlic over low heat with ½ tablespoon of butter, and don’t forget a little salt, until translucent and slightly caramelized, set aside.

Chop equal amount of parsley, chive, tarragon, and chervil. You will need about 2 tbsp altogether. Set aside.

Crack the eggs into a large bowl and add salt and pepper to taste –cook a bit of the egg mixture and taste it to make sure it is well-seasoned. You can also add a bit of milk if you’d like. Whip until the bright yellow eggs turn pale and foamy.

Preheat the broiler to High. On the stovetop, heat up a large pan, at least 10 inch in diameter, until hot. Add 2 tbsp of butter, be sure to coat the entire pan. Pour the eggs into the pan and stir rigorously, like making scrambled eggs. When the eggs begin to set and turn paler in color, turn to heat immediately down to very low. Scatter the potatoes, zucchini, green garlic, and the fine herbs all over the eggs and let cook until almost set.

Take the pan off the stovetop and into the broiler. Let the egg mixture cook under the broiler for just a few minutes, watching carefully, until blisters form in places and turn brown. Take the pan out of the oven immediately and serve. You can serve the Frittata on its own or pair with a simple green salad.

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  • http://www.rosas-yummy-yums.blogspot.com Rosa

    Those potatoes are wonderfully beautiful! A nice and summery recipe…

  • http://www.mostlyeating.com Sophie

    I see what you mean – they definitely look a lot prettier in the dish than straight out of the ground! I’m not normally convinced by the whole edible flowers thing but the matching flower petals look gorgeous (and surprisingly tasty) next to the purple potatoes. What sort of flowers are they?

  • http://nami-nami.blogspot.com/ Pille

    I’ve cooked with those blue potatoes couple of times, and my favourite way is to simply mash them. I love the out-of-this-world blue colour, and their flavour is pretty proper, too. I hadn’t thought of making frittata with them, but I can see that they’d work well in a herby frittata indeed. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Meghaan

    Blue potatoes have a better cellular structure to handle mashing, and can take a lot of physical abuse without breaking down the cellular walls. I love them for mashed potatoes; they are less dry than Idaho, and still take as much whole cream and butter as the usual spuds.

  • http://www.culinarycowgirl.blogspot.com Culinary Cowgirl

    I’ve only recently discovered your blog and find myself taken in.
    I love the purple Peruvians…have had them mashed, which makes a stunning presentation. This frittata looks almost too good to eat.

  • http://erinskitchen.blogspot.com erin

    Next time you’re in LA you’ll have to hit one of the farmer’s markets where the Weiser Family Farm sells its wares–they are potato crazy, their purple peruvians are just the tip of the proverbial potato iceberg! My favorites are their german butterballs and russian banana fingerlings.

  • cj

    I was in Paris recently and had the best meal of my life so far at Chez Michel, followed by another superb one in L’Os a Moelle. And it was all due to your “Cheap Paris Eats” guide, so thank you so much for compliling such a brilliant list.

  • http://thewinemakerswife.blogs.com The WIne Makers Wife

    That Frittata is gorgeous, quite a show stopper. I will have to try this the next time I see these at the Farmer’s Market in Mountain View.

  • http://inpraiseofsardines.typepad.com/blogs Brett

    I once made a Spanish tortilla out of purple potatoes. It was a tad too frightening to my taste. It looked like something you would want to serve Prince (during his early years). Or Barney.
    I second CJ’s comment above. I followed much of your advice on my trip to Paris and ate quite well. N and I thank you!

  • http://www.meieats.com mei

    Mmm. Normally, I’m not a fan of my root veggies looking like they’ve gone thru a Kool-Aid treatment. (Check out my post on Taiwanese Spuds here if you can: http://meieats.com/2007/04/taiwanese-spuds/). How do these Peruvian potatoes compare in texture and taste-wise to regular spuds? Waxy and tough or cooks soft easily?

  • Alex B

    Yes, purple potatoes are beautiful and delicious. When you get a chance, also try Okinawan sweet purple potatoes. A Bay Area bakery turns them into heavenly purple cheese cakes.

  • http://www.aidanbrooks.blogspot.com Trig

    They look very similar to the potatoes I got from Borough for my Christmas lunch last year. I used them with sweet potatoes to make a kinda orangy-purple mash, and folded through little cubes of butternut squash that I’d cured in honey for 8 days. I was really surprised at how well the purple potatoes kept their colour, as you said, even after cooking.

  • http://play-with-food.blogspot.com Deborah Dowd

    Luckily they look better on the inside than from the outside! I once made a dish of roasted sweet, blue, and yellow potatoes and it was very drmatic, so I think I will try your frittata!

  • http://www.latartinegourmande.com/ Bea at La Tartine Gourmande

    Funny to see this post Pim. I am currently addicted to these blue potatoes too. If you ever get a chance to check the wonderful book Patate, en français, do so! I am addicted to it! It tells you the history of hundreds of varieties, including la vitelotte.

  • http://perufood.blogspot.com/ Alejandro

    I loved these photos so much I posted them at Peru Food (and put chez pim on my favorites blogroll, as well)…

  • http://www.auction-genius-course.com Sydney Johntson

    my friend from philippines have those… she says in their place it is being made as a candy also and pastries… very yummy =)

  • mmoreno

    i am looking for a source for the blue, purple potatoes. can you help?

  • http://www.agoodic.com agoodic

    I’ve cooked with those blue potatoes couple of times, and my favourite way is to simply mash them. I love the out-of-this-world blue colour, and their flavour is pretty proper, too. I hadn’t thought of making frittata with them, but I can see that they’d work well in a herby frittata indeed. Thanks for the inspiration!
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    looks delicious!

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