After a Wine of the Week pairing column in which I suggested that sparkling wine and French fries were happy companions, a reader contacted me to ask where he could find Kennebec potatoes, which many people, myself included, feel make the best fries.
Kennebecs are not particularly hard to find though they are not always identified. If you see a potato that you think may be a Kennebec, as the grower or, if you’re in a market, ask the produce manager. I’ve seen them in Oliver’s Markets though I usually buy them at the farmers market. Cliff Silva of Ma & Pa’s Garden grows fabulous potatoes but the season is over for him. Nathan Boone of First Light Farm currently has excellent Kennebecs; he attends only the Saturday markets in Santa Rosa, not the Wednesday markets. He’s also at markets in Sebastopol during its season. Davero Tasting Room sells some of his produce, as well.
While we’re on the subject of potatoes, I can’t resist mentioning that it was the famous Burbank Russet that got Luther Burbank to Sonoma County. You can read about it here, in an article that originally appear in Savor Wine Country magazine. It includes a guide to what I will call heirloom varieties of potatoes, along with recommended uses. Several are as good for fries as that workhorse Kennebec.
Seasonal Pantry has included scores of potato recipes; here are a few from the archives that are perfect for this time of year.
Madeleine Kamman’s Farcement du Faucigny A farcement is a potato pudding and it makes a sensational centerpiece on the holiday table. Consider it for Christmas breakfast
French Fries with Truffle Salt & Aioli Sensational with sparkling wine
Potatoes with Creme Fraiche Simple and irresistible
Perfect Mashed Potatoes Fool proof!
Lambs Tongue Salad with New Potatoes & Arugula Lambs tongue is readily available when you buy from local vendors at farmers markets.
Potato Pancakes with Creme Fraiche, Smoked Fish & Caviar Even without the embellishments, these potato pancakes are delicious
Winter Squash & Potato Gratin An ideal side dish in cold weather
Potatoes Riojanas A tangy Basque dish from Gerald Hirogoyen