Purple is the new brown? The basic brown-skinned potato needs a personality adjustment. He’s old hat. Boring.
We need something new and exciting to dress up our dinner plates for the meat-and-potato men in our lives. In comes the Purple Viking – a zebra striped potato in shades of purple with a meaty white center. Even if a guy isn’t in to purple, he’s gotta love that name – Purple Viking.
I was introduced to this beautiful spud by the folks at WHITE MOUNTAIN FARM in the San Luis Valley. They grow a variety of interesting potatoes of all shapes, colors and sizes. When I saw this one, I knew it needed special treatment. Sour cream, chives, and cheddar cheese wasn’t going to be good enough. I wanted to create something special for this potato with a conqueror’s attitude.
Because I have a pantry full of colored salts and bottled ginger products that have been patiently waiting to be put to good use, I decided this was the day. Like any good chef, I love salt. Love, love, love salt. Ginger, too.
Sour cream is naturally fluid. If I wanted to create a topping for a hot potato, I would need a flavor base with more structure, so I chose Greek yogurt. Any added liquid flavorings would surely thin it out but it would still hold its shape. Six containers of yogurt later, I found the perfect balance of ginger juice and honey. Not too sweet, and not too hot.
I smothered this Viking with melted butter then rolled him a collage of colored, chunky salts. Baked him until he was tender inside and crusty outside, then topped him with a ginger and basil infused Greek yogurt. (This makes me want to do some research on clashes between Greeks and Vikings).
Somehow, I’m the one who ends up feeling like she conquered something, and I dug in and ate every last salty scrap.
I hope you enjoy this combination and feel free to use the yogurt topping as a partner with fish and/or steamed vegetables. If you’d like to learn more about potato varieties, visit the COLORADO CERTIFIED POTATO GROWERS
These particular salts came from a gift set my sister purchased at DEAN & DELUCA.
SALT CRUSTED BAKED POTATO WITH GINGER AND BASIL YOGURT
PREHEAT OVEN TO 375º F
4 8-ounce potatoes (Purple Vikings or other purple-skinned potato), scrubbed clean
1 Tbl Himalaya Pink Salt (chunky crystals)
1 Tbl Fleur de Sel (chunky crystals)
1 Tbl Murray River Salt (chunky crystals)
1 Tbl Kilauea Black Sea Salt (chunky crystals)
2 Tbls butter, melted
GINGER AND BASIL YOGURT
2 each 5.3 ounce (150 grams) containers of plain Greek yogurt
2 tsp honey
1 tsp naturally pressed organic Ginger Juice by The Ginger People
2 tsp finely chopped Grated Ginger by The Ginger People
2 Tbls finely chopped fresh basil
fresh thyme leaves (purple flowerettes if available)
fresh purple basil, finely chopped
Himalayan Pink Salt (fine crystals)
Freshly ground black pepper
PREPARE THE POTATOES
Combine the chunky salts into a bowl. Drench the potatoes in the melted butter then roll them into the salt until covered. Wrap each potato individually in aluminum foil and place in a preheated oven. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a toothpick pierces the center easily. Pull back the foil and finish in the oven for another 15 minutes to crisp the salt crust.
PREPARE THE YOGURT
Combine the packages of yogurt, honey, ginger juice, grated ginger and basil. Adjust sweetness or heat by adding honey or ginger juice, respectively, as desired.
Remove the foil from the potatoes. Cut a slit in the top and push both sides inward to push the potato up and open. Fluff up the meat with a fork. Top with Ginger and Basil Yogurt and garnish with fresh thyme, basil leaves and their flowerettes if available. Finish with fine pink sea salt and freshly cracked pepper.
Serve – and be sure to eat the skin, too!
Of course you can use any potato for the Ginger and Basil Yogurt topping. I would suggest baking up a potato with purple meat for a more striking presentation.
Feel free to use any combination of chunky salts. There are many to choose from and I used just a few from my vast collection.
I grow thyme and purple and regular basil in my backyard but these are available in most high-end grocery stores.
Photos by: Mark Woolcott Photography
Recipe and Styling by Patricia Bainter and thepatricianpalette.com
All RIGHTS RESERVED.