I thought for years that “new potatoes” was just a silly name for a specific breed of potatoes. It’s not. “New potatoes” refers to any kind of freshly dug potato. Despite their image as the most seasonless of all vegetables, potatoes actually are available fresh during the summer and fall.
Fresh potatoes, which Claire used in her salad last week, are more tender and delicate than the storage potatoes that are available year-round. Unlike the suit of armor that you find on baking potatoes, new potatoes have a thin, tasty skin and should not be peeled. They take well to brief cooking and single, subtle flavors, generally butter and a fresh herb.
For these potatoes:
Gently scrub a pound or two of new potatoes. Generally speaking, the smaller the potatoes, the better the flavor, but don’t feel like you need to buy 5 dozen marble-sized potatoes. Believe me, you won’t want to wash them.
Strip some rosemary from its stems, and boil the stems in a pot of water. When the water is boiling, add the potatoes. Cooking time will vary, but should be around 15-20, and the potatoes are ready when they are fork tender. Drain the potatoes and then put them back in the pot over low heat with butter and the rosemary. Heat until the butter is melted and the remaining moisture from the boiling water has mostly evaporated. Serve.
If you’ve made more potatoes that you can handle (I did), these are great chopped up and fried in butter or olive oil and served with or without ketchup. The best damn home fries I’ve ever had.