One of my favorite things to grow in a backyard garden is potatoes. They love our year-long mild climate, can handle a little neglect, and thrive with a bit of effort. Once it's time to dig them up it's a soil treasure hunt - each colorful spud feels like a victory. Pink and purple potatoes feel extra special causing kids (and adults!) to squeal with excitement when they spot one.
Local garden stores sell seed potatoes in little mesh bags and you plant them in trenches in the soil. As they grow, you mound up soil around the plan, encouraging more and more potatoes to sprout. Many people have luck starting potatoes on their own, sprouting eyes from regular, grocery store potatoes. If you go this route, just be sure to get potatoes from a trusted source in case you bring in strange diseases with them.
My love for the Kokkari cookbook has already been noted, but each and every dish I make from there is absolutely perfect - deadly simple and incredibly flavorful. Having found beautiful and fresh yukon gold potatoes at my local market, I made their signature potato dish, skipping the last step of frying them.
This recipe highlights the creamy, mild flavor of fresh spring spuds and the addition of sharp lemon juice gives them additional depth and flavor. I served them with my favorite Kokkari feta dressing, but they are delicious and flavorful enough on their own.
From Kokkari: Contemporary Greek Flavors by Erik Cosselmon and Janet Fletcher
3 large Yukon Gold potatoes (30 oz or so in total), peeled and cut lengthwise into 6 wedges
6 Tbsp. Extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp. dried Greek oregano
salt & pepper
1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
1/2 c. water
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Place potatoes in a large bowl and add olive oil, oregano, 1 1/2 tsp. salt and some grinds of fresh black pepper. Toss and be sure to evenly coat each potato. Spread the potatoes in a single layer in a 9x13" casserole dish (non-reactive as there is lemon juice). Drizzle with lemon juice, then carefully add water around (not over) the potatoes.
Bake uncovered for about 40 minutes, rotating halfway through. The water should have evaporated and the potatoes should be tender and slightly browned.
When done, remove from oven and let potatoes cool and rest for at least 15 minutes before diving in.