The Spuds of PEI

July 22nd, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

Prince Edward Island is often called, with affection, “Spud Isle” because of its abundance of potato fields. Potatoes have been grown on PEI since 1760. It is now a billion dollar industry with some 330 potato growers cultivating 88,000 of mainly family owned acres which makes PEI the largest potato growing province in Canada. PEI’s soil is red, sandy with a high iron content giving the PEI potato a unique mineral tang. HG has never seen PEI potatoes in American supermarkets; instead we Americans consume spuds (which often have been stored for up to a year) from Idaho and Maine. PEI potatoes are better, attests HG. A favorite companion of roast chicken is BSK’s “smashed potatoes.” BSK roughly crushes boiled potatoes and mixes them with warmed chicken broth and sliced scallions. HG likes this better (and it’s healthier) than butter/cream potato puree. HG often slices PEI potatoes on a Japanese mandoline slicer and pan fries them with an abundance of chopped garlic (influenced by Paris bistro L’Ami Louis). Great with steak. A local favorite dish here on PEI is a “PEI Galette”: a casserole of thinly sliced potatoes, parmesan and mozzarella cheeses, herbs, garlic, olive oil, pureed onions baked in the oven and browned under the broiler. Sounds good. Have to try it.

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Tiny Taters

August 19th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

All over Prince Edward Island vendors are selling a Spud Isle specialty — tiny, new potatoes. These potatoes (the largest are the size of a golf ball) have a unique, slightly mineral taste, the product of PEI’s red earth and salt air. They are great tossed with parsley, olive oil, sea salt and ground pepper. Equally good with melted butter. HG likes to smother them in a mixture of chopped dill, garlic, olive oil and Greek yogurt. Unadorned, the little spuds are a nice companion to any cold soup (like the beet borscht and sorrel soup HG’s Mom used to make). When BSK makes roast or grilled chicken she usually usually roasts a big pan of the wee taters with an abundance of herbs, olive oil and garlic. Crisp and intensely flavorful. The potatoes should not be overcooked. They should remain slightly al dente. Only potato to match the PEI product are the little ones La Famiglia would consume on Nantucket Island many years ago. These were a favorite of young gourmand SJ. There must be something about potatoes grown on a salt sea island.