This week's Market Watch highlights potatoes from idle Hands Ranch at the Mill City Farmers Market. Here are two easy-to-prepare recipes that celebrate young potatoes.


Note: This recipe must be prepared in advance. “This is a lovely potato salad that is best made from the sweet first new potatoes of summer,” writes Andreas Viestad in “Kitchen of Light” (Workman, $24.95). “It makes great picnic food, since it can be made a few hours, or even a day, in advance.”

2 1/2 lbs. small new potatoes, scrubbed, skins on

Fine sea salt

2/3 lb. green beans

A large handful of chopped mixed fresh herbs, such as mint, thyme, parsley and/or basil

2 garlic cloves, crushed

2 tbsp. capers, drained

1 tbsp. freshly grated lemon zest

1/2 c. extra-virgin olive oil

3 to 4 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

Freshly ground black pepper

Edible flowers for garnish, optional


Place potatoes in a saucepan. Add 1 tablespoon salt and enough water to cover generously. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook for approximately 15 minutes, until potatoes are tender but still firm in the center (use a fork to check for doneness). Drain potatoes and allow to cool slightly, then cut them in half and place them in a large bowl. Meanwhile, cook beans in lightly salted boiling water for 4 to 5 minutes, until just tender. Drain. Add beans to warm potatoes, then add herbs, garlic, capers and lemon zest. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil and lemon juice, pour mixture over salad and toss to mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Let salad stand for a few hours at room temperature so that herbs will have time to flavor potatoes. When ready to serve, sprinkle with edible flowers (optional).


Serves 4.

Note: From “The Herbal Kitchen” by Jerry Traunfeld (William Morrow, $34.95).

2 lbs. rock salt

1 bunch (about 1 oz.) thyme

6 bay laurel leaves, fresh or dried

1 1/2 lbs. small potatoes, such as fingerlings or small Yukon gold potatoes, rinsed and dried


Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Pour half of salt into a deep baking dish, large enough to hold potatoes in a single layer. Strew half of thyme sprigs and bay leaves over salt and arrange potatoes on top of herbs. Cover potatoes with rest of thyme, and then bury them with remaining salt. Bake for 45 minutes, or until tip of a paring knife easily slides into a potato. (If not ready to serve potatoes, you can leave them in salt for up to 30 minutes). There are two ways to dig potatoes from salt: either scoop out with a slotted spoon, or tun baking dish upside down over a large baking sheet, break salt apart and extract potatoes (the author’s preferred method). Use a soft brush to sweep excess salt off of each potato and pile them in a serving dish.