The tiny, smooth-skinned, yellow-fleshed Bintje (pronounced ben-jee) was developed a century ago by a Dutch botanist-schoolteacher who named it for a star pupil. Neither exceptionally starchy nor waxy, it’s a remarkably flavorful French-fry lover’s potato. Connoisseurs of Belgian frites slice them thick, fry them twice, dip them in mayo, and accept no substitutes. Bintjes are also delicious mashed, and even better mashed then pan-fried—a technique chef Yvon de Tassigny uses on russets at Williamsburg steakhouse St. Anselm.
St. Anselm’s Pan-Fried Mashed Potatoes
2 1/2 lbs. Bintje potatoes, peeled (at Greenmarket’s Mountain Sweet Berry Farm stand)
Pinch of fresh rosemary
1 scallion, chopped
1/2 tsp. garlic, minced
2 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 lb. butter
1/2 oz. rendered bacon or duck fat
1/2 tsp. white truffle oil (optional for white-truffle-oil haters)
Handful of chopped parsley
Cut the potatoes into even pieces or slices, and rinse under cold water. Boil potatoes in a pot of water until fork-tender, and drain. Return potatoes to the pot, and dry over low heat for a couple of minutes. (1) Fold in the rosemary, scallion, garlic, olive oil, and butter; season with salt and pepper; and mash the potatoes, then cool to room temperature. In a small non-stick skillet, add the bacon or duck fat. (2) Add the mashed potatoes almost to the lip of the pan, and press down gently with your hand to form a pancake of sorts. Cook over medium-high heat until a crust forms on the bottom, about 5 to 10 minutes. (3) Flip the potatoes in a pan or invert onto a plate and slide them back into the pan to cook the other side until a crust forms. Plate the potatoes, and sprinkle with truffle oil and parsley. Serves 4. Adapted from St. Anselm.