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Steamed New Potatoes with Chive Oil

For this recipe, using a fruity olive oil (as opposed to a peppery one) to blend with the chives helps balance the oniony flavor in the bold-tasting, vibrant green drizzling oil. The infused oil forms an innovative sauce for simply steamed new potatoes, which are accented by the brightness of lemon zest.

Ingredients:

  • 2 lb. small new potatoes such as fingerling, Yukon Gold, or baby red, each about 1 1/2 inches in diameter
  • 1 bunch fresh chives
  • 1/3 cup fruity extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Directions:

Scrub the potatoes and, if necessary, halve any large ones so they are all about the same size. Bring 1 to 2 inches of water to a boil in a saucepan and place the potatoes in a steamer rack that just fits the pot. Steam the potatoes, covered, until a sharp knife penetrates the potatoes easily, with no resistance, 15 to 17 minutes.

While the potatoes are cooking, bring a small saucepan of water to a boil.

Fill a small bowl two-thirds full with ice water. Coarsely chop three-fourths of the chives. Add them to the boiling water and cook for 1 minute. Drain the chives and then immediately plunge them into the ice water. Let stand for a minute or two, then drain and pat dry. Place the chives in a blender or mini food processor. With the motor running, pour in the olive oil and blend until smooth. Pass the chive oil through a fine-mesh strainer lined with a paper towel into a small bowl. Discard the chives that cling to the paper towel along with the paper towel.

Cut the remaining chives into 1-inch pieces. Finely grate the zest from the lemon (reserve the fruit for another use). When the potatoes are done, place them in a warmed serving dish. Add the chive pieces and chive oil and toss gently to mix. Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with the lemon zest and immediately. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma New Flavors for Vegetables, by Jodi Liano (Oxmoor House, 2008).