recipe: new potatoes with crème fraïche and coriander seed + other swell ideas

coriander-cracker

I started viewing coriander seed as Instant Flavor Enhancer one day when I was testing a recipe and had a lot of cracked coriander left over. I tasted it on whatever came to mind to discover its slightly lemony-orange peel-herbal flavor and bit of crackle is wonderful on all sorts of foods, sprinkled on before serving, like pepper. It provides the perfect little alt-note on everything from smoked salmon to rice pudding to a cracker spread with crunchy peanut butter). My all-time favorite is on crushed new potatoes with crème fraiche and chives. (See the list and recipe farther down)

I was snooping around the internet hoping to find a coriander photo when I stumbled on this image and the big idea behind it:

Use a garlic press to crack coriander in an instant, when you don’t have a mortar and pestle. It’s from a blog called Fidgety Fingers, “a collection of finger-made items with salvaged items from the recycling bin, and sustainable lifestyle ideas.” I was thrilled at the idea of the blogger having a Eureka moment discovering this swell use for a garlic press when a little note at the bottom of the post revealed that the idea came from Real Simple Magazine. I’d love to know who the anonymous editor was who figured this one out…It is a great idea. (You can use a garlic press coarsely crack other spices as well, like pepper, fennel or cumin seeds, cardamom…),

What Cracked Coriander is Good On (list in progress):

roasted sweet potatoes or beets with butter..
smoked salmon…
rice pudding…
grain dishes made rice, barley or faro…
on corn-on-the-cob…
crunchy peanut butter…
…caramelized bananas…

…use it to crust inch-thick slabs of tuna or swordfish, then sear…
…sprinkle on top of a plain butter cake just before baking…
…mix it into biscuit or scone dough’s and on just about anything with orange…

How to Toast and Crack Coriander Seed
To maximize their flavor, scatter the coriander seeds in a small heavy skillet. Toast over moderately low heat, shaking the pan frequently until you just get a whiff of their fragrance.

Transfer to a mortar, and crush the seeds coarsely with a pestle…

…Or place ½ teaspoon or so in a garlic press and squeeze to crack the seeds; open the press, jiggle the seeds to rearrange and repeat…

…Or, place a sheet of paper towel on the work surface and pour the seeds onto it. Use the side of a chef’s knife or the flat bottom of a heavy glass to press down on the spices to crush them. Carefully lift the sides of the towel and tilt the crushed spices into a small bowl. Alternatively, coarsely grind them in a spice grinder or clean coffee grinder for a less rustic effect

Recipe: Salt-Roasted (or Boiled) New Potatoes with Crème Fraïche and Cracked Coriander

New potatoes and fingerlings roasted in salt have an extraordinarily pure flavor and creamy interior. Place the dish of potatoes buried in salt on the table (on a trivet) with a serving spoon, allowing guests to dig out the potatoes out themselves; pass crème fraïche or butter and cracked coriander seeds on the side for guest to dress them as they like. This is also a great way to dress simple boiled potatoes. Use leftover cracked coriander  as a surprising, instant seasoning for all sorts of dishes.

Serves 4 though you can scale it up to feed more…

Kosher salt

1 ½ pounds new potatoes such as Yellow Finns, Bintje or fingerlings (no larger than 2-inches in diameter

About 1 cup crème fraiche

1 stick unsalted butter (optional)

3 or 4 tablespoons cracked coriander seeds

3 or 4 tablespoons snipped fresh chives

Preheat the oven to 400′. Spread a 1/2 inch-thick layer of kosher salt in a large, 2 or 3-inch deep ovenproof pan or dish. Nestle the potatoes in the salt spaced about 1/2-inch space apart. Cover completely with salt. Bake until tender, about 35 to 40 minutes. To test for doneness, dig out one of the potatoes and press; it should split open easily.

Let the dish cool 5 minutes before serving. Place little bowls of unsalted butter, crème fraïche, cracked coriander seeds and snipped chives on a platter or tray to make them easy to pass. Or, alternatively, transfer the potatoes to a warm casserole. Coarsely crush them with a fork or potato masher. Top with slivers of butter and creme fraiche; then scatter coriander seed and chives over the top. Serve at once.

One Response to recipe: new potatoes with crème fraïche and coriander seed + other swell ideas

  1. constance 12.22.2009 at 11:53am #

    thanks for the help with delicious sounding potato side dish for Christmas dinner. yum

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