Who loves potatoes? WE DO! And don’t most people? I mean, it’s the original comfort food from the days when folks couldn’t afford expensive meat. In the East, it’s rice, but that’s another post entirely. Honestly, I’ve only met one person who claimed they don’t like potatoes, but they do eat fries, so see – there’s a potato lover in everyone! I don’t know why, but the book Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt just crossed my mind. But let’s not go there… suffice it to say that potatoes sustained them through very hard times and we can be grateful that our lowest days are nothing in comparison.
Today is all about love and lifting ourselves out of the winter doldrums with romance, champagne, chocolate and precious little finger foods like these bites of tender young potatoes filled with luscious salmon mousse (which happens to pair beautifully with champagne). And, even if you don’t have a special someone in your life at the moment, treat yourself to this simple appetizer and a little bubbly before diving into that box of decadent chocolates! Champagne and chocolate were meant for each other, and you deserve it!
Last weekend, a group of us treated ourselves to a pre Valentine’s Day celebration Potatopalooza sponsored by the wonderful people at the Idaho Potato Commission. Yes, we celebrated the humble spud and our competent and gracious hostesses, Erika Kerekes of In Erika’s Kitchen and Judy Lyness of Two Broads Abroad, showed us just how creative you can get with this often maligned and underutilized staple. My favorites were the Fingerling Potatoes with Salmon Mousse because I love anything salmon and the silky Cream of Potato Poblano Soup, but there was so much more! Everything from Potato Vodka Shooters to Potato Kale Lasagna Cups to Potato Sweetheart Cakes, we were blown away by sheer deliciousness.
Cream of Potato Poblano Soup
Rainbow of Fingerling Potato Vodka Shooters
Potato Kale “Lasagna” Cups
Rainbow Potato Pizza
You get the picture! It was one heck of an Idaho Potatopalooza and Spuddy Buddy was there – perched atop the baby grand piano, smiling down at the crowd of happy and satisfied guests reveling in potato paradise.
- 24 Idaho fingerling potatoes, any variety
- 3 Tablespoons salt, plus more to taste
- 1 cup whipped cream cheese
- ¼ cup sour cream
- ½ pound smoked salmon
- 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh dill (or 1 teaspoon dried dill)
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- Chopped fresh chives or sprigs of fresh dill, for garnish
- Make the fingerling cups: Cut the top and bottom off each potato. Using a tiny spoon or melon baller, carefully scoop out one end of the potato, leaving a ¼-inch rim intact. You don’t need to dig out the whole inside, just enough so there’s an indentation for you to pipe the mousse into.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the 3 Tablespoons salt. Boil the fingerling cups about 12 minutes, until the point of a sharp knife goes into the bottom easily. Drain and let cool in the colander.
- Make the smoked salmon mousse: Put the cream cheese, sour cream, smoked salmon, dill, lemon zest and lemon juice into a food processor. Process until smooth. Transfer the smoked salmon mousse to a piping bag fitted with a large star tip.
- Fill each fingerling cup with a squirt of smoked salmon mousse. Sprinkle with chives or dill. Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled.
I hope these photos have inspired you to put a new spin on potatoes – feel free to Pin them for future kitchen adventures. A little bit of info on potato varieties: the most popular potato in the world is the Russet (the Russet Burbank is the most widely available but there are numerous varieties), but consider expanding your horizons with the rainbow of potatoes that are now available in markets: Yukon Gold, Yukon Gem, Yellow Fin, Red La Soda, Ruby Crescent, Peruvian purple fingerlings and other fingerling varieties. Enjoy 🙂
Here are more recipes from Potatopalooza that may interest you: