Organic agriculture and biodiversity have in recent years brought about a rediscovery of many “forgotten” vegetables that people especially in Europe and France conscientiously tried to forget as they reminded them of the privations suffered during WWII. The same people had then to make do with untraditional vegetables because potatoes, carrots and so on were confiscated by occupying forces or their own armies.
With sustainibility and bioagriculture made more important by the deficiencies of modern mass agriculture, those “forgotten” vegetables have suddenly come to the fore for the pleasure of all, and that of course of vegetarians and vegans!
This particular series of postings will introduce these vegetables one by one. I hope they will become useful for a long time to come to all my vegan and vegetarian friends!
1) Scorsonere/Oyster Plant
Vitelotte (also called Negrèsse or Truffle de Chine in French) is an ancient (quite like an heirloom rose) cultivar of blue-violet potato.
Originally from Peru and Bolivia, the Vitelotte variety is still commonly grown there. It is supposed that they are a 200 year old mix of ancient types of Peruvian potatoes.
Vitelotte potatoes have a dark, almost black skin and dark violet-blue flesh thanks to a high content of the natural pigment anthocyanin. They retain their colour when cooked. The plants mature late and compared to modern varieties produce a fairly low yield. The tubers have a thick skin and thus store well.
Its colour allows for spectacular dishes, taking in account that the colour blue is not common in gastronomy (except for cakes!)
Combined with other vegetables of different colours, they certainly look attractive!
Not only its colour but also its hazlenut-like flavour makes it popular with chefs!
Vitelotte soup (Courtesy of Lamiacucina)
It’s a bit difficult to peel, and when boiled a bit floury.
In soups, you can sieve it and combine with fresh cream and serve hot or cold as vichyssoise, but chips are probably the most popilar way to present and consume them!