It’s disconcerting when you are at the market and little old ladies are asking the vegetable sellers, “Avete Americani?, which means do you have any Americans? The first time I heard this I wondered if I had suddenly become a sought after delicacy. I’ve since learned that when it’s this time of year, the ladies are asking for a variety of grape called “Americani”. It’s the kind we have in our orto, and I think it’s a cousin to the Concord, but it's unlike any grape I’ve seen in America.
Seems it is also the season for ‘patate americani’ or American potatoes. Maybe Americans are only in season in the fall? Anyway, I bought two patate americani because I’ve never seen a potato like this. It’s long and tapered the way a sweet potato might be, but the flesh is white.
I decided to roast one, in it’s skin, in foil. This is a good method for concentrating the natural sweetness and moisture in a potato, just remember to poke a few holes in the potato or you will make “Exploding Natural Disaster Potatoes.”
When I opened the foil, there was an intense aroma of cinnamon. Hmmm, I thought a white sweet potato. That was until I skinned and sliced it. It was a pale, sickly green on the edges, sort of taro root looking and not at all attractive. The flavor was just starchy.
When it doubt, fry something, so I threw them into a pan with some olive oil and a bit of chicken juices from a chicken I’d roasted. They got nicely crunchy and certainly tasted better fried, but ….. what are these ‘potatoes’? Does anyone know what these strange tubers are, and what’s a good way to prepare them? I still have one more lonely American potato…..