This post is Sponsored by Gwillimdale Farms. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Whenever I see potatoes, I think of Vincent Van Gogh’s “The Potato Eaters.” The first time I saw this dark, murky impressionistic painting, was in 2nd grade in an Encylopedia Brittania book. AKA the Wikipedia of the ’70s and ’80s. I was so taken by its hard reality; the wrinkled, stained hands, the sunburnt skin, and tired, hungry faces.
Eventually, when I was old enough, I read the background behind the sombre painting, and I was even more moved.
“You see, I really have wanted to make it so that people get the idea that these folk, who are eating their potatoes by the light of their little lamp, have tilled the earth themselves with these hands they are putting in the dish, and so it speaks of manual labor and—that they have thus honestly earned their food. I wanted it to give the idea of a wholly different way of life from ours—civilized people. So I certainly don’t want everyone just to admire it or approve of it without knowing why.”- Vincent Van Gogh.
The concept of working the land with one’s hands to nourish oneself and others to survive, resonated with me for years. To live “honestly.”
Not much has changed since 1885 when the Dutch post-impressionist painter created this masterpiece. Farmers are still toiling the land but on a much larger and faster scale to keep up with demand.
This post is in partnership with Gwillimdale Farms. Operated since 1903, family owned and operated by the humble and hardworking John Hambly, wife Cristina and his children. 4th and 5th generation farmers, Gwillimdale currently farms on 1000 acres of fertile lands on the Greenbelt of Bradford, Ontario.
Their specialty: root vegetables. Parsnips, onions, carrots, beets and potatoes.
And in all sincerity, their produce is impressive. Always crisp carrots, fresh potatoes, and firm parsnips. Gwillimdale not only grows their produce, but they also harvest, clean, pack, and distribute directly from their farm to your local grocer. They are, without a doubt, one of the finest root vegetable producers in the province. I’m so honoured to be sharing this simple brunch recipe with you to showcase their humble, versatile and beautiful vegetable; the humble Solanum tuberosum, aka the potato.
Visit Gwillimdale Farms for more information and/or recipe ideas.
- 1.5 kg or 8-10 medium Gwillimdale Farms Potatoes washed and scrubbed (approx 150 g per potato)
- 6 tablespoons unsalted fresh butter
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- a few sprigs of (purple) basil
- 2 cloves of fresh garlic
- 4 large fresh eggs
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Parsley to garnish (optional)
- Preheat oven to 425 F
- In a large pot, add the potatoes, a tablespoon of salt and add water until it covers all the potatoes.
- Bring to a boil and cook for 30 minutes until potatoes have softened through (25 minutes if using smaller potatoes and 35 minutes if using large potatoes)
- Drain the potatoes in a colander and allow to sit for 3-5 minutes for the excess water to dry/drip away.
- Meanwhile take the two garlic cloves and give it a pound with a knife so that they split open.
- Place the garlic, the sage and the butter on a baking tray about 12 x16 inches or so on the stove top at medium heat and allow the butter to melt for about half a minute.
- Transfer the potatoes to the baking tray and smash them with a potato masher until about 1 inch thick.
- With a basting brush or spoon, make sure the tops of the smashed potatoes are all coated with the butter.
- Drizzle the 2 table spoons of olive oil over the smashed potatoes.
- Sprinkle salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.
- Bake for 35 minutes or until golden and crispy.
- Remove tray from oven and position your potatoes to create “walls” to contain your eggs.
- Add your 4 eggs in between the smashed potatoes and bake for another 2-5 minutes depending on how well done you’d like your eggs to be. Keep an eye on your eggs!
- Remove from oven, sprinkle the eggs with salt and pepper and parsley to garnish.
- Feel free to spray your potatoes with vinegar or sprinkle with chili flakes or drizzle with siracha sauce. Be creative!