While tomatoes are getting most of the glamour, I should reiterate that this is also the height of new potato season. It's become of one my key culinary causes to help more people realize how special it is to get to eat a nice bowl of just-cooked new potatoes—I think they're one of the more underrated and for some reason little-celebrated foods, even in this positive era of local, seasonal produce. But they really are a big deal and, I think, a great food. I was going to write a bunch about them but then remembered that I wrote them up a few years back. The info pretty much stands as is. New potatoes are still delicious. And they still get relatively little recognition in a world that's ever more cognizant of fresh local produce. So rather than starting from scratch, the below is excerpted from what I put down in 2007:
MORE ON POTATOES:
Corby Kummer: "New Potatoes"
Anastatia Curley: "Potato Frittata"
Susan Spungen: "Twice-Baked Potatoes"
I was talking to Rodger (chef at the Deli) about these the other day. With a serious eye roll and a high degree of exasperation, he said something along the lines of, "New potatoes are totally misunderstood. People think that every small potato the size of a golf ball is 'new,' but they're not." Well said and, I think, very accurate.
To an experienced potato person, the fact that all small potatoes are NOT new is a given. But to most 21st century Americans, "new," as Rodger pointed out, has come to be considered a size instead of what it ought to be, which is a real-time adjective that refers to the newly dug potatoes that come out of the ground only at the start of the summer season. The problem is that, although size might matter slightly in terms of eating experience, the main draw to new potatoes is how good they taste, which is very different from matured potatoes that have been stored for many months.