Potatoes in all Forms and Flavors

S 2 with Andreas Viestad EPISODE 05

The story of the potato starts in a church. When the potato arrived in Norway, around 1750, it met with a hungry but superstitious population. They were impressed by the potato’s ability to grow almost anywhere and the crops that it yielded, but they were skeptical of anything that grew under ground. It could be the devils work. The priests had to convince the farmers that growing potatoes was safe.

A Healthy Potato SaladThe first dish is a healthy Potato Salad with Herbs and Herring. It is prepared right outside the church that started the potato revolution in Norway. Herring is full of vitamin A, and combined with the potato, it was believed to help fight many diseases including tuberculosis.

Peaceful TodayThe valley Gudbrandsdalen is a peaceful valley today, but 800 years ago a civil war was raging in Norway. The fate of the nation was decided in this valley. To commemorate the dramatic events, the Birkebeiner race continues to be held in this valley every year. The 58 kilometer race attracts more that 10.000 skiers each year.

The most Important Crop in the CountryThe potato soon established itself as the most important crop in the country, and people began to experiment with making everything from cakes to liquor from the potatoes. The flatbread potato cake has survived to this day. Today it is usually served wrapped around a hot dog. The high carbohydrate content of the potato made it an ideal choice for making alcohol. The Norwegian flavored aquavit is a sophisticated liquor made from the potato.

Preparing the Main DishesAndreas visits one of the farms in the highland and starts off by making the dessert which is Potato Pancakes with Goat Cheese and Berries and the starter, Potato Soup with Smoked Salmon and Salmon Roe. To make the soup, the potatoes are mashed and blended until the mixture is smooth and velvety and then it is topped with the salmon.

The main dish is Flambéed Pork Chops in Sage and Aquavit served with a luxurious Potato au Gratin with Parsnip and Rutabaga.