What's in Season at the Farmers Markets: Swedish Peanut Potato Debut
Alex Weiser shows off his new Swedish Peanuts at the Hollywood Farmers Market.
Alex Weiser of Weiser Family Farms has become the go-to guy for tubers. Sure he has Bloomsdale spinach, Padron peppers, and beautiful baby Romanesco broccoli heads, but the man's claim to fame rests deep in loamy California soil. We're talking potatoes, and his devotion to them has enabled him to debut some fascinating varieties (if you can call a potato fascinating), from exceedingly hard to find heirlooms (like the small and nubby Ozette) to painstakingly selected new varieties (like the purple and gold Laker Baker).
And now, Weiser's done it again, although this time he's debuted a potato variety that already has a massive following, just not here in California. Introducing the Swedish Peanut (a.k.a. Butterfinger, Lapin Puikula, or Swedish Mandel), an oddly shaped little spud that already comes social media-equipped with its own Facebook fanpage. Just bone up on your Finnish.
The Swedish Peanut is a small, well-balanced potato with a pale, outer skin (larger older tubers can look more like a russet) and a yellow flesh that is soft and pillowy like a more starchy potato, but nutty (yes, peanuty) and even sweet like the Ozette and other more nuanced fingerlings. Unlike other fingerlings, it has an odd, almost teardrop shape. "It's like a comma or a quotation mark," says Weiser, holding up a pair to prove his point. And he's right. They're fat at one end tapering to a point along a slow curve, adding another texture to his already crowded potato tables at the local markets.
Kitchen tests included sauteing, boiling, and roasting. The potato did remarkably well in all three, though the roasting really brought out its namesake peanut flavor. A brief dalliance with Google's Translate page suggested that it also makes a good Finnish potato bread, but then again another translation said it's also helpful for "weasel boils." Proceed accordingly, though we're hoping for baking. Regardless, Weiser says he should have these in until February.
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