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New Potatoes with Spring Peas

New Potatoes with Spring Peas
New potatoes, the first potatoes dug in spring and early summer, taste earthy and satisfying but nothing like the heftier mature potatoes found in markets the rest of the year. These young potatoes are low in starch, with thin, tender skins and delicate flesh. Small round red or white potatoes (also called creamers), fingerlings and Yellow Finns are among the most common varieties available as new potatoes. Unlike mature potatoes, new potatoes should be stored no more than 2 or 3 days before cooking and eating.

Ingredients:

  • 2 lb. small new potatoes, such as fingerlings or
      red or white potatoes, of uniform size
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 2 cups shelled young English peas
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 5 or 6 green onions, white and light green
      portions, thinly sliced

Directions:

Put the potatoes in a large saucepan and add water to cover by 2 inches. Add large pinches of salt and sugar. (The sugar brings out the natural flavor of the potatoes yet does not contribute any sweetness to the final dish.) Bring the potatoes to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to medium and cook, uncovered, at a bubbling simmer until the potatoes are just tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Test with a fork; the fork should meet a bit of resistance but pierce the potatoes easily. (Do not let the potatoes overcook or they will become watery and fall apart.)

Drain the potatoes. They may be peeled or left unpeeled. If you are peeling them, rinse them in cold water and let cool for a few minutes, then peel.

Meanwhile, bring a saucepan three-fourths full of water to a rapid boil over high heat. Add pinches of salt and sugar and the peas, and blanch until they turn bright green, about 30 seconds. Drain and rinse under cold running water to stop the cooking and set the color.

In a heavy fry pan over medium-low heat, melt the butter with the olive oil. Add the green onions and let them wilt, about 3 minutes. Add the potatoes and peas and toss together until heated through, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.Serves 4.

Variation Tip: Try substituting 2 cups sugar snap peas or 2 cups trimmed snow peas for the English peas in this recipe.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, Vegetable, by Marlena Spieler (Simon & Schuster, 2002).