Editor’s note: Once a month, we’ll be profiling a farmer, focusing on an ingredient and sharing a recipe.
This is the 10th season that George O’Neal of Lil’ Farm has been growing vegetables and raising chickens in the Triangle.
When we profiled O’Neal seven years ago, he described himself as a “commuting farmer” because he farmed at three different locations. Now he has a 40-year lease on a friend’s farmland in Person County, just a mile north of Durham County.
O’Neal sells at the Durham and Carrboro farmers market on Wednesdays and at the Durham Farmers’ Market on Saturdays.
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These new potatoes were dug out of his fields in June. O’Neal expects to be selling them until September. We used them to make New York City chef April Bloomfield’s Salt-Crusted Potatoes with Herbed Vinegar.
See a complete list of local farmers markets at nando.com/1ap.
with Herbed Vinegar
From “A Girl and Her Greens: Hearty Meals From the Garden,” by April Bloomfield (Ecco, 2015).
2 pounds golf-ball-size Yukon gold potatoes or new potatoes
3 tablespoons flaky sea salt, such as Maldon
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
A five-finger pinch of delicate flat-leaf parsley sprigs
6 or so large basil leaves
10 or so large mint leaves
Coarsely ground black pepper
Place potatoes in a medium pot where they’ll fit snugly in one layer and add enough cold water to just barely cover them. Add salt and bring water to a boil over high heat.
Boil until potatoes are tender and the water has completely evaporated, giving the pan an occasional shake once the water’s almost all gone, 30 to 40 minutes.
Keep cooking and shaking, until potatoes are coated with a layer of salt and the bottom of the pot has begun to brown (don’t fret; it scrubs off easily later), about 3 minutes more. Take the pot off the heat and let the potatoes cool slightly. If any potatoes have a very thick layer of salt, gently rub them with a kitchen towel to knock a bit off.
Halve the potatoes the long way and arrange them cut sides up on a large platter or plate.
Whisk together oil and vinegar in a small bowl until the mixture looks creamy.
Toss herbs together, coarsely chop them, and stir them into the vinegar mixture.
Spoon the mixture over the potatoes, sprinkle on as much pepper as you like, and serve straightaway.
Yield: 4-6 servings as a side.