The pile of potatoes in my kitchen was getting bigger and bigger. This was entirely my own fault—week after week, my friend Maggie and I have the same conversation as we split up our CSA share. Since I know she prefers sweet potatoes to white potatoes, the division of vegetables always ends like this:
Me: And you can keep the sweet potatoes and I'll take the potato potatoes.
Maggie: Are you sure?
Me: Oh yeah. I love potatoes! I can't believe you don't like potatoes.
And I do love potatoes. I like them roasted, I like them mashed, I like them on top of shepherd's pie, I like them with parsley, I like colcannon, I like potato leek soup; I could easily reel off 15 potato dishes I'm very fond of. It's just that it apparently doesn't occur to me to actually cook any of these dishes, because the hanging basket in my kitchen was getting heavier and heavier with potatoes, week after week. They were lurking up there, right above my head, sprouting nasty little eyes.
I'm not sure why I hadn't cooked them. I think it has something to do with my belief that they are a storage crop, and so I confidently expect them to last forever, quietly waiting for the day when I have somehow consumed all of the spinach and lettuce and kale and the other more perishable vegetables the world has to offer. I am defeating myself, however, by storing them improperly. They should be sitting in a brown paper bag somewhere dark and cool, rather than in the open basket perilously near the kitchen light fixture.
Confronted with this creepy pile of softening and sprouting potatoes, I decided on a recent night that the time had come to cook them. I went with my usual method for disposing of many potatoes: a frittata, my version of which is essentially a cake of potato slices held together by some egg, with onions and rosemary for flavor. Among the many good things about this dish is that it is equally tasty hot and cold; you can even make it into a sandwich, with a little mustard and some greens. If you are someone who packs your lunch, in other words, it's very helpful to have leftover frittata on hand.
I always make frittata in a cast-iron pan about eight inches in diameter. I film the pan with olive oil, brown the onions, then add thinly sliced potato and rosemary. Meanwhile, I beat five or so eggs in a large bowl. When the potatoes and onions are cooked, I mix them with the eggs, wipe out the pan, add a little more olive oil, and carefully return the egg, potato, and onion mixture to the pan. I turn on the broiler, then cook the frittata on the stovetop over low heat while washing greens for a salad. When the frittata is almost firm, I cook it under the broiler for a few minutes, until the top is golden brown.
I followed all this cooking with a small victory dance to celebrate my delicious disposal of the potatoes. And after dinner, I went down to my cold, dark basement to investigate better storage.