Gathering around the table every evening was a nonnegotiable part of Brandon Chavannes’s upbringing. “We had dinner as a family every night at six thirty. You could set your watch by it,” says the executive chef of the Betty, a seasonally minded restaurant and bar in Atlanta. While those meals featured comforting ingredients such as yams—a reflection of his Jamaican heritage—these days he often reaches for another standout tuber when preparing food for family or friends: the German Butterball potato. An Idaho farmer introduced this relative newcomer in 1988, and it’s also known as the “butterless potato” thanks to its naturally buttery flavor. That richness, combined with its density and creaminess, made it an instant hit among chefs. Chavannes loves to use the yellow-fleshed summer spud in potato salads, mashed potatoes, hash, corn and potato soup, and homemade gnocchi. You can pick up German Butterballs at most summer farmers’ markets or in the “locally grown” section of your grocery store. Make sure there are no soft spots or sprouting eyes and that the skin is bright and unbroken. They’ll keep in a cool, dark place for a couple of weeks, so grab a bunch and start planning your own family feast. Although Chavannes cherishes his childhood dinners, breakfast has become his favorite meal for sharing food with loved ones—and Butterballs fried in a cast-iron skillet and topped with crème fraîche (see recipe) are a rise-and-shine winner. “Breakfast is inherently such a comforting experience,” he says, “and with a little finesse and the right ingredients, it can become something really special.”
What's In Season
A Next-Level Spud
Whether in Fourth of July potato salad or breakfast hash, the German Butterball is a summer favorite
photo: John Burgoyne
Crispy Butterball Breakfast Potatoes (Yield: 3–4 servings)
1½ lb. German Butterball potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 tbsp. canola oil
2 tbsp. butter
4 tbsp. crème fraîche
1½ tsp. whole grain mustard
1 tsp. minced dill
1 tsp. minced chives
½ clove garlic plus 4 cloves, minced
Salt and pepper, to taste
½ large red onion, diced
8 oz. smoked salmon
Fresh herbs, for garnish (sorrel, chives, dill, or parsley)
Flaky sea salt
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until tender—about 8 to 10 minutes—then strain and let sit in the colander for several minutes. Meanwhile, heat a cast-iron skillet over medium heat, then add oil and swirl to coat the pan. When oil is hot, add potatoes. Resist the urge to stir them until they’re browned on one side, about 6 to 8 minutes. At that point, add butter and toss gently. Again, let them sit until browned, another 5 minutes or so.
While potatoes are cooking, mix crème fraîche, mustard, dill, chives, and ½ clove of garlic in a small bowl. Season with salt, pepper, and a small squeeze of lemon juice. Once potatoes are browned, add red onion and remaining garlic to the skillet. Turn off heat and toss a few times to incorporate. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Place the crispy potatoes on a plate, then gently fold or roll salmon into 1-inch strips and arrange them randomly in the crevices between the potatoes. Use a spoon to drizzle the crème fraîche sauce over the salmon and potatoes, and garnish with herbs.
Finish with sea salt and another squeeze of lemon.
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