At the start of spring, the whole world seems to be bursting with tiny, irresistible signs of new life: green leaves sprouting from branches, fuzzy kittens popping up in my Facebook feed, and tender, sweet new potatoes making their brief annual appearance at the market. They may not last long, but when preparing ingredients this fresh and fleeting, the upside is that you don't have to do much to make them stand out. Simply boiled and tossed with fresh herbs and anchovy-flecked butter, new potatoes are a savory, soul-satisfying way to celebrate spring.
This recipe is as adaptable as it is easy. Don't have parsley? Use dill, mint, cilantro, or a combination of herbs. Don't want to boil? Steam the potatoes instead. And if new potatoes are nowhere to be found, you can substitute fingerling or another type of small, creamy potato. The only element that can't be skipped is the anchovy, which adds a complex — but not fishy — savoriness to the mix.
Piled up in a bowl, these potatoes would make a lovely, dinner-party-worthy accompaniment to a piece of roasted salmon or a crisp-skinned chicken thigh. But they also make a slightly decadent, pretty amazing lunch as well, either piled with a scoop of creamy cottage cheese, or — I'll admit it! — eaten straight out of the bowl with buttery fingers. I regret nothing.
New Potatoes with Herbs and Anchovy Butter
1 pound new potatoes, scrubbed
4 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 oil-packed anchovy fillet
1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley (or dill, mint, or a mixture of herbs)
Additional salt, if needed
Place the potatoes, water and salt in a medium pot with a lid and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower heat and simmer uncovered for 10-15 minutes, or until the tip of a knife pierces easily through one of the larger potatoes.
While the potatoes are simmering, place the butter and anchovy in a small bowl. Use a fork to mash them together, until the anchovy is in small flecks throughout the butter.
When the potatoes are done cooking, drain them in a colander and return them to the still-warm pot. Add the anchovy butter and herbs, and cover pot. Move pot around in a circular motion, so that the potatoes tumble around and are coated completely in the butter and herbs. Depending on the saltiness of your anchovy, you may need to add more salt. Taste a potato and add 1/4 teaspoon salt (or more) if needed. Serve warm.
- Fingerling or another type of small, creamy potato can be substituted for new potatoes.
(Images: Anjali Prasertong)