Purple potatoes with lavender and herbs

April 8, 2011 |  by Tricia  |  potatoes

Purple potatoes are not something you often see on a menu or are served when you go to someone’s house— I’d like to see this changed. They have a gorgeous purple hue and are a hybrid of the taste and texture between waxy potatoes (red, yellow, fingerlings…) and your basic spud (hello, Idaho). This time of year, with the weather still in flux—some days it’s warm and sunny, the next it’s chilly, blustery, and raining harder than will allow you to ride your bike without the mud streak up your back—it is nice to ease into your spring palate by alternating those lovely tender asparagus and sweet peas with a warm dish that infuses the freshness of the season. And purple potatoes are your vehicle of choice. They pair wonderfully with fresh, spring herbs such as lavender, thyme, and rosemary—especially the lavender. I’m not sure if it’s because the two share a common color, but this is a deliciously memorable combination.

I’m transfixed with the amazing taste sensations that happen when you pair similar colors together. Instinctively, I cook with color and try to make dishes have a variety of colors from the rainbow in it. However, putting the same colors together, while not instinctive, has opened up Pandora’s box in the kitchen for new ideas for recipes.

Lavender & Spring Herb Purple Potatoes Inspired by Color Me Vegan
Make sure not to overdo the lavender, it can become overpowering (like perfume) if overused. I like a little extra pepper, I use both pink peppercorns and black, and a flaky fleur de sel for a hint of crunch and perfect saltiness. I also added more fresh thyme, more garlic (whole cloves are a gooey, sweet compliment post roasting), and rosemary. It was fresh, happy, and tasted like spring.

  • 1-2 pounds small purple potatoes

  • 1/4 cup olive oil

  • 6-12 cloves garlic, whole

  • 2 tablespoons dried culinary lavender

  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme

  • 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped

  • 3 large red/purple onions, peeled, halved, and quartered

  • Pink and black pepper, to taste

  • salt to taste

  • fresh lemon juice (about half a fresh lemon)

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Boil the potatoes until they are just tender—you can usually poke them with a sharp knife and it will come out fairly easily and clean when they’re soft enough. If the potatoes are smaller, you can boil them whole, but if they’re bigger, quarter them up before you put them in the pot.
    While the potatoes are still warm, transfer them to a baking sheet and give them a good mash with a large fork. Add the onions and garlic. Pour the herbed olive oil mixture on top and toss until evenly coated with your hands. Season with salt and pepper. Bake in the oven for 25-35 minutes, depending on how you like your potatoes (softer or more crunchy). They’re done when the onions take on a golden hue and are crispy around the edges. Remove from oven and splash the fresh lemon juice over the potatoes to brighten everything up. Serve warm and enjoy!

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