It is summertime around here, meaning that the kids are home and that we are busy keeping them happy and healthy and entertained. We are going to the swimming pool, planning outdoor picnics and fun activities, visiting museums and some lovely fairgrounds, and we go hiking – you get the picture. Then there is also the present heat wave, meaning that I go to the market as early in the morning as possible and come back home with baskets full of vegetables and fruits before the kids even rise, pack away all those lovely purchases and go on about our busy day.
A few day ago, after a trip to a nearby climbing park, we drove by a farm stand and we stopped to get a huge bag of carrots (for all those bunnies) and potatoes (for us) – not surprising, the farmer did not have that much left after a long day. I had been planning to make these Potato Hearts for the longest time and after a day filled with kids´ activities, this seemed to be a perfect day for finally making them. The hearts and the dip come together in no time and they make for perfect summertime munching!
It is interesting to point out that in general, the Dutch, Belgians, Spanish and Germans like yellow-fleshed potatoes, whereas the British tend to prefer white-fleshed ones. But color makes little difference to the taste.
Once cooked the texture of potatoes can range from smooth to waxy-textured flesh, perfect for those potato salads to floury-textured flesh ideal for fluffy mashed potatoes. Therefore, it is important to know what type of potato you have bought before you decide how to cook them. Around here potato season begins in April with early waxy salad varieties.
Savory Potato Hearts & Herbed Farmer´s Cheese Dip
Ingredients for the Potato Hearts
- 500 grams waxy or primarily waxy potatoes, skins on, preferably from a local source
- 2 egg yolks (L), free range or organic
- some sea salt to taste
- freshly ground black pepper
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- neutral oil for frying (like canola or sunflower oil)
Ingredients for the Herbed Fresh Cheese Dip
- 250 grams Quark which is a kind of fromage blanc or other fresh farmers´ cheese
- juice of ½ lemon (about 2 tsps)
- some sea salt to taste
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp freshly chopped Italian parsley (or more, to taste)
- 1 tbsp freshly chopped chives (or more, to taste)
- 1 finely grated carrot (medium sized-one) OR 1 cucumber (small), deseeded and very finely diced
- a potato ricer* (you could also use a sieve here)
- some flour for the work surface
- a rolling pin
- one heart-shaped cookie cutter
Preparation of the Potato Hearts
- Wash the potatoes and gently boil them until perfectly cooked. This will take anywhere between 15 to 20 minutes depending on the size of your potatoes - test for doneness with the tip of your kitchen knife.
- Once cooked, quickly run the potatoes under cold water, drain and peel as soon as possible.
- Force the potatoes through the fine grid of your potato ricer and add to a medium-sized bowl.
- Then to the bowl with the riced potatoes add the egg yolks, salt, pepper and ginger and stir well with a fork.
- Gently pat the dough together and transfer it to your well-floured work surface.
- Using a well-floured rolling pin, roll out to about 1 cm thickness.
- Using a cookie cutter, cut out the potato hearts. Re-roll the scraps and cut out some more hearts.
- Pre-heat your oven to about 52 degrees Celsius.
- Heat some oil in a non-stick pan (medium heat) and gently fry the potato hearts for about three minutes on each side, or until golden brown.
- Rest the Potato Hearts on some paper towels, then transfer them to a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Transfer the baking sheet to a warm oven in order to keep warm.
Preparation of the Dip
- Place all the ingredients into a medium-sized bowl and blend with a fork.
- Add a little lemon juice, salt or pepper as needed (every fresh cheese is different) or until you have a „dippable“ consistency and the dip is the texture and taste you want.
- Keep in the fridge until ready to serve with the warm potato hearts.
- Just before serving, sprinkle with a few more freshly chopped herbs.
These Savory Potato Hearts are especially delicious when you serve them while still warm but if you prefer to make them in advance and not re-heat them, they are equally wonderful when served at room temperature – our kids will attest to that.
The Herbed Farmer´s Cheese Dip is perfect for these warm and summery days. Using so-called Quark for this recipe or any other light fresh farmer´s cheese, will result in a dip that is enjoyably thick and creamy, yet simultaneously light and tangy.
And if you happen to have any left-over dip, please remember that dips are great for lunch boxes, sandwich fillings or as a topping for wraps. Or serve some with with vegetable sticks, baked potatoes, potato skins, pita breads or flatbreads. The dip will keep in the fridge for about two days. If you plan on making the dip ahead of time, you should not add the chopped chives until about thirty minutes before serving, otherwise, the dip will end up having too much of an onion taste.
Using new potatoes in my recipes is always quite the treat at this time of year and I always look forward to doing so. And, as you all know, new potatoes only need few additions in order to sing – so, you can just enjoy these Savory Potato Hearts on their own and maybe just opt for a light sprinkling of your favorite fancy salt (you know the one that you received as a gift or bought at that food fair or the fancy new spice store...). Or make a lovely seasonal side salad to accompany these Potato Hearts and opt for the delicious, creamy, summery Herbed Farmer´s Cheese Dip with those added grated fresh veg – that´s all you will need to enjoy summertime eating...