A food review by Daniel B.
Thanks to South Park I can no longer say the words crème fraîche without feeling like I’m part of a running gag.
But it’s wonderful stuff. While sour cream is prized for its scoopable thickness and intense tang, crème fraîche is much thinner and more delicate. It can be used for finishing sauces without risk of breaking.
Amazingly, it’s incredibly easy to make at home. Britin from All Good Bakers in Albany shared the secret. Pretty much you simply add a little bit of good quality buttermilk to fresh cream and let the two ingredient mingle at room temperature for at least twelve hours, but potentially even longer.
Personally, I find the process of making it unappetizing, and frankly would rather have someone else do it for me. Thankfully Ronnybrook in Ancramdale does such a great job with their crème fraîche. Now I can take this magnificent thickened cream and do something unthinkable (but totally seasonal).
Sour cream and onion potato chips.
After endless months of winter I’m hurting for something green and alive. Anything. And soon there will be ramps, garlic scapes and all the early spring vegetables. But for now we’ve got storage vegetables. And honestly they’re not looking as great as they were a couple months ago.
But potatoes can still be sliced and fried. And the green sprouts growing from the tops of my onions are looking mighty appealing right about now. While they are super pungent, if sliced very thin and used sparingly they can add some intense flavor, and much needed color into these final days before the bloom.
Potatoes, onions and dairy have New York written all over them. And combining them all into a bite that’s crispy, silky, pungent, and salty takes some of the sting out of the extended winter. Although that could just be the endorphins from all the fat.
I have never experienced a finer sour cream and onion potato chip.
If you wanted to class this up a bit, instead of the onion sprouts you could substitute some sturgeon roe. It’s been a long time since the sturgeon in the Hudson have been edible, but maybe one day we’ll be able to restore the fishery. Then we could have a briney element to this tasty local treat.
Before too long spring will give way to summer, and there will be fresh berries. Ronnybrook’s crème fraîche would be simply decadent on top of juicy berries bursting with sunshine. In anticipation of that day, I took some of last summer’s berries from the freezer. A little vanilla sugar helped to perk them up a bit and release some of their juices.
But the crème fraîche doesn’t really need berries. It doesn’t even need potatoes, beet soup, scrambled eggs, scones, or even toast and jam. I’d happily devour the stuff straight from the container with a spoon. And I just might just so long as I can convince myself that swimsuit season is still months away.
About Daniel B.
A west coast transplant now living in Albany, Daniel Berman is applying his communication strategy background to food writing with the ultimate goal of improving the culinary landscape in the Capital Region. He writes the FUSSYlittleBLOG and contributes regularly to All Over Albany.