A favorite among potato farmers and fancy chefs alike, the German Butterball (no relation to the turkey) is an heirloom variety known as a “butterless” potato; because it’s so good, you don’t need butter. They store exceptionally well, and possess a deep yellow flesh and flaky texture. The nugget-size specimens available at the Greenmarket’s Mountain Sweet Berry and Berried Treasures farm stands are prized by chefs, like Annisa’s Anita Lo, who appreciate the fact that the little spuds pack a ton of flavor into a small (and awfully cute) package. They’re delicious simply steamed or mashed, but even better stuffed with melted cheese, as in this riff on classic French raclette.
ANITA LO’S GERMAN BUTTERBALLS WITH RACLETTE
12 small German Butterball potatoes
2/3 cup Raclette cheese, grated
Optional garnishes: cornichons and chives, chopped; and prosciutto, sliced and chopped
Preheat oven to 450. Slice off about a quarter of the tops of each potato and a thin layer off the bottoms to form a solid base.
(1) Using a melon-baller, scoop out the potatoes from the top to form small cups.
(2) Place the hollowed-out potatoes in a saucepan and cover with salted water. Bring to a boil, then simmer until the potatoes are tender, about five to ten minutes. (You should be able to easily insert a knife into the thickest part of the potato.) Drain and cool.
(3) Stuff the cavities with the grated raclette, pressing down slightly. Place on a baking sheet and bake until cheese is melted and bubbly, about five minutes. Serve immediately as an hors d’oeuvre, or pair with a small salad as an appetizer.