Kartöflur í jafningi {Icelandic Potatoes in White Sauce}

potatoes in white sauce_Kartoflur i jafningi©RhondaAdkinsPhotography

For the longest time I had a dislike for cream sauce, it seemed as if it was used to cover up food that no child in their right mind would like. Lutefisk and peas in my case. Now put some cheese in the white sauce and it was a whole different ball game, but I didn’t know that they were almost the same. I just thought that white sauce was an evil plot to hide disgusting food, coating it with this thick white goo.

And then one day, my taste buds grew up and my culinary knowledge expanded.  That thick white goo turned out to be a Béchamel Sauce, one of the French Mother sauces.  Béchamel sounds way better than white sauce and certainly white goo!

potatoes in white sauce_Kartoflur i jafningi©RhondaAdkinsPhotography

Boiled potatoes are a staple side in Icelandic cuisine and almost always were served with a white sauce. For my tastes I found the dish on the bland side unless paired with a flavorful dish like smoked leg of lamb. It seemed that whenever there was Kartöflur í jafningi there were peas served on the side as well. 

As an avid hater of peas when I was young (I used to take the peas and make a ring of them under the lip of the plate, then made sure I was last leave the table so when I removed my plate there was the ring of peas left that had to be disposed of quickly before my secret was discovered). It was impossible to hide the peas under the lip of my plate when we had Kartöflur í jafningi because the sauce would run into the peas, forcing me to eat them. Evil, I tell ya!

potatoes in white sauce_Kartoflur i jafningi©RhondaAdkinsPhotography

As my taste buds grew-up and I discovered that I liked peas, okay what I really discovered is that I like fresh or frozen peas that aren’t over cooked and detest canned peas. I also had an affinity to mix my peas in with my Kartöflur í jafningi.  Now I sometimes just serve them already together. Because I served this Kartöflur í jafningi with fiskibollur {Icelandic Fish Balls} I added fresh dill, so freaking good.

How did I ever not like this before?

potatoes in white sauce_Kartoflur i jafningi©RhondaAdkinsPhotography

Kartöflur í jafningi {Icelandic Potatoes in White Sauce)
Serves 4
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Ingredients
  1. 2 large potatoes, peeled and left whole*
  2. 2 tablespoons butter
  3. 2 tablespoons flour
  4. 1 1/2 cups milk
  5. White Pepper and salt to taste
  6. Traditional: Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  7. Non-Traditional: 2 tablespoons chopped dill or other herbs, 1 cup cooked peas, chopped smoked salmon, etc.
Instructions
  1. Place whole potatoes in a small pot, cover with water (you can salt the water if desired), bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and cook until tender. About 20 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. Sauce: Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat, once melted add flour and whisk to combine. Cook for 1 minute or until hot and bubbly. while roux is cooking, warm milk in microwave. Slowly whisk milk into the roux, whisking constantly. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, boil for 1 minute or until thickened. Season with salt, pepper, nutmeg or herbs.
  3. Cut potatoes into bite sized pieces (they should be cool enough to handle by now but still hot).
  4. Plate potatoes and drizzle with white sauce. Serve immediately.
Notes
  1. I like to leave my potatoes whole for this dish, they will cook quickly if cut up first but they absorb more water and get a little more mushy. This is more of an issue with russet potatoes versus waxy potatoes.
The Kitchen Witch http://www.thekitchenwitchblog.com/
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