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Crispy potatoes deserve Green Goddess dressing

Recipe: Celebrate St. Patrick's Day with this delicious side dish

The cutest little new potatoes are destined to be paired with the herbs at left: parsley, chives and dill.

The cutest little new potatoes are destined to be paired with the herbs at left: parsley, chives and dill. Kathy Morrison

After so many grey days, I can't get enough green, indoors and outside. And since it's St. Patrick's Day -- and just two days until spring begins -- I thought it appropriate to bring green and potatoes together in a recipe appropriate for any spring dinner.

The potatoes are easy: boiled, then smashed and roasted. Use any waxy potato you like, because they can be cut in half or quarters to make the smashing easier. But the smallest new potatoes are a lot of fun -- the red, yellow and purple mix I used would be ideal for an Easter feast, for example.

Serving the smashed potatoes with Green Goddess dressing is what makes this recipe special. And here is where spring comes into play: Use the freshest, greenest herbs you can find, and preferably a mix of two or three, for a blend of flavors. A fresh lemon, too. Yogurt was my choice for the base of the dressing, but buttermilk, sour cream, crème fraîche or labneh also will work.

green-goddess-bowl.jpg
The dressing is bright green from all those herbs.

The dressing itself can go on or with plenty of spring dishes. I found it at epicurious.com paired with a very green salad (celery, avocado, salad greens, plus cooked chicken). I'm planning to serve it with grilled salmon later this week.

Crispy smashed potatoes with Green Goddess dressing

Serves 4

Ingredients:

For the potatoes:

1-1/2 pounds new potatoes, preferably small, but at least all the same size

Salt and ground black pepper

2-1/2 tablespoons cooking oil that can handle high heat, such as safflower, grapeseed or canola, divided

For the dressing:

3 heaping cups fresh green herbs, including tender stems (parsley, chives, dill, basil, mint, tarragon, cilantro are all possibilities, or a mix)

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup of one of these: plain whole milk yogurt, buttermilk, sour cream, crème fraîche or labneh

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon drained capers

1 to 3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 lemon

Instructions:

Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Set out a large rimmed baking pan.

Place the potatoes in a large saucepan and fill it with cold water at least 2 inches above the potatoes. Add a large pinch of salt. Bring the water to a boil an cook the potatoes until very tender but not falling apart. The smallest ones in my mix were done at 15 minutes; the largest took nearly 25 minutes.

Drain the potatoes in a colander and let them rest there for 5 minutes.

While the potatoes are cooking, make the dressing.

In a blender or food processor, place the herbs, mayonnaise, yogurt (or chosen dairy product), capers, garlic and a large pinch of salt.

Grate the lemon zest into the mix, then cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice from one half into the ingredients. (Watch for seeds!) Reserve the other half for now.

potatoes-dressing-platter.jpg
Crisy smashed potatoes, ready to serve with
Green Goddess dressing.

Blend or process the dressing ingredients at high speed until the herbs are finely chopped and the dressing turns bright green. Taste and add some black pepper, and more salt and/or lemon juice as needed.

Scrape the dressing into a serving bowl or other container and chill until ready to serve.

Back to the potatoes: Brush 1 tablespoon of the high-heat-compatible oil on the surface of the baking pan. Arrange the potatoes evenly on the pan. If any are larger than a golf ball, cut them in half and place them on the pan cut side down. (Very large potatoes can be cut in quarters.)

Grease the bottom of a large drinking glass or a Mason jar with some of the remaining oil. Use it (regreasing as often as necessary) to smash the potatoes into flat more-or-less discs. There will be random pieces that come loose, and that's OK.

Brush the smashed potatoes with the last of the oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for about 25 minutes, flipping the potatoes over at the 20-minute mark to get the other side crispy, too.

Serve warm, passing the Green Goddess dressing at the table.

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Garden Checklist for week of May 19

Temperatures will be a bit higher than normal in the afternoons this week. Take care of chores early in the day – then enjoy the afternoon. It’s time to smell the roses.

* Plant, plant, plant! It’s prime planting season in the Sacramento area. If you haven’t already, it’s time to set out those tomato transplants along with peppers and eggplants. Pinch off any flowers on new transplants to make them concentrate on establishing roots instead of setting premature fruit.

* Direct-seed melons, cucumbers, summer squash, corn, radishes, pumpkins and annual herbs such as basil.

* Harvest cabbage, lettuce, peas and green onions.

* In the flower garden, direct-seed sunflowers, cosmos, salvia, zinnias, marigolds, celosia and asters.

* Plant dahlia tubers. Other perennials to set out include verbena, coreopsis, coneflower and astilbe.

* Transplant petunias, marigolds and perennial flowers such as astilbe, columbine, coneflowers, coreopsis, dahlias, rudbeckia and verbena.

* Keep an eye out for slugs, snails, earwigs and aphids that want to dine on tender new growth.

* Feed summer bloomers with a balanced fertilizer.

* For continued bloom, cut off spent flowers on roses as well as other flowering plants.

* Don’t forget to water. Seedlings need moisture. Deep watering will help build strong roots and healthy plants.

* Add mulch to the garden to help keep that precious water from evaporating. Mulch also cuts down on weeds. But don’t let it mound around the stems or trunks of trees or shrubs. Leave about a 6-inch to 1-foot circle to avoid crown rot or other problems.

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