I have a little secret to tell. I’ve been feeding my girls pink mash and green mash since they were little. For years they thought fairy dust made it different colours. In fact for birthdays we did have a touch of the edible glitter on top. Little did they know I mashed in beetroot and spinach to get the colouring and give them a little nutritional kick at the same time. When they found out, they’d been eating it so long that they didn’t think to go “Ewwwww!” and stop. It tasted fine after all despite having their least favourite veggies inside.
Now they are a little more grown up but the wonder of seeing coloured mashed potato never fails to light up their little eyes. This time Mummy’s not added fairy dust or any secret ingredients. The potatoes really are purple.
Purple Majesty – A right royal treat from the ground
The variety we grew is called Purple Majesty. This is a hybrid cultivated from native Peruvian purple potatoes which grow high in the Andes. They contain tonnes of anthocyanin which you’ll also find in superfoods like blueberries and pomegranates. These are said to boost immunity and in view of the flu season about to descend on us, I would much prefer a plate of mashed purple potatoes than a flu jab!
Prepare for purple hands
Peeling them is rather fun. I felt a little like Violet Whatshername in Charlie and The Chocolate Factory as my hands took on a tinge of purple. They looked rather bruised. The cooking fluid goes a little blue which is a bit disconcerting but I have been assured by my (chemistry teacher) husband that this is the natural pigment coming out much like beetroot. The skin and flesh is just gorgeous.
Perfectly paired with rosemary
Aside from the mash, they are pretty on and in bread. They retain their purple looks and so I made some focaccia with rosemary from the garden. It was very satisfying using two ingredients completely grown from seed.
Rosemary and Purple Potato Focaccia
- 500g strong white bread flour
- 10g table salt
- 7g fast action yeast
- 80ml olive oil plus more for drizzling
- 250g water (I find it easier to weigh it in grams that measure out in a jug)
- 5 sprigs rosemary
- 2-3 purple potatoes
- Sea salt for sprinkling (optional)
- Put the flour, salt and yeast into a mixer and mix together.
- Add the olive oil and water and mix again until it all comes together into a wet dough.
- Leave to rise until it is double in size.
- Knock back and then plop into an oiled roasting tray.
- Push out the dough gently into a flat rectangular shape and then leave to rise again for about 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile preheat the oven to 200C.
- Dimple the surface of the dough and push in some short sprigs of rosemary.
- Thinly slice (about 3mm thick) the potatoes and place them evenly around the bread. Give them a little push into the dough.
- Drizzle the whole thing with olive oil and then bake for around 20 minutes til golden brown.
- Drizzle again with some olive oil and sprinkle over some sea salt if you wish. I tend to leave it off if the girls are eating this.
Have you grown any purple vegetables or fruit this year? Do you have any tips for growing potatoes?
- Purple Bombay Potatoes (greedygourmet.com)
- Purple Potato Salad (jamieoliver.com)
- Za’atar and Olive Focaccia (fabfood4all.co.uk)
- Purple Dumplings in Kumamoto (kaveyeats.com)