Ron Backer slipped me the ziplock like a tiny bag of gold. "Boil these," he said, "mash them with their skins on, and eat 'em hot." I pressed several dollars into his hand, and tucked the potatoes into my basket for safe keeping.
It wasn't until I cut them open that I understood. The purple majesty potatoes didn't just boast dramatic skin; they were dyed inside, too, with an intricate webb of deep violet and pale lavender veins.
I sliced them carefully on the kitchen butcher block and watched the rivers of color unfold. The water boiled; as I dropped them in, the stately rounds bobbed violently amidst the uproar.
These were not common potatoes; over three generations of trial and error, Sun Valley farmers developed them from a cross between an all blue and a white-fleshed cold chipper. The buttery, creamy result is packed with anti-oxidants and about the size of a new potato.
When mashed as Ron described with a bit of butter and a dab of cream, the majesties offered a lovely purple side to yet another dinner of sautéed summer squash. Someday, we'll get to the end of those vines. In the meantime, I'll be looking to the Orleans market for another pot of gold to play the jester.
PURPLE MAJESTY MASH
Makes 2 cups
Wash and halve about 1 pound purple majesty potatoes. Boil 10-15 minutes or until tender. Drain and put in food processor with 2 tablespoons butter, 4 chopped scallions, and 2 tablespoons milk or cream. Blend and serve hot.