Ruby Crescent, Purple Peruvian, Russian Banana—these may sound like designer paint colors, but they’re actually varieties of fingerling potatoes. These petite spuds, which somewhat resemble misshapen fingers (hence the name), come in many varieties. They all tend to have thinner skin and denser flesh than round potatoes like Yukon Golds or red-skins. We find the Ruby Crescents and Purple Peruvians to have a delicate, slightly sweet flavor, whereas the Russian Bananas are more robust and earthy.
Fingerlings are fairly all-purpose, lending themselves to roasting, sautéing, boiling, and steaming. Feel free to substitute fingerlings for baby potatoes in your favorite recipes. The Purples make for a delicious and dramatic potato salad on their own or as part of a mix; just cook the different varieties separately, as the cooking times may vary slightly. For a real treat, try slicing fingerlings into 1/4-inch-thick coins and poaching them at a simmer in olive oil until tender, about 15 minutes. If you’re a garlic lover, throw in a handful of peeled, halved garlic cloves before poaching. Remove the potatoes from the oil with a slotted spoon and serve them sprinkled with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper. They’re silky, succulent, and a cinch to make.