Recipe. You Won't Want to Miss This!
A little known and used spice.
Juniper is a very common spice that is almost never used in cooking in America. Where is it common? It’s the basic flavoring in gin, which derives its name from the Latin Ginepro. Now, it’s not a spice for every day, but in conjunction with certain foods—pork, game, sauerkraut, among others—it adds a delicious, pungent savor. Juniper berries are not easy to find, though Penzey’s sells them online. They are small, round, purplish-brown spheres with distinctive sweet-sour smell. You don’t need a lot to flavor a dish. Following, is one of my favorites, derived from an old French recipe, with due gratitude to Diana Kennedy.
Pommes de Terre à la Ardennaise
2 lbs. waxy potatoes, such as Yukon Gold
4 tbs. unsalted butter
3 tbs. olive oil
12 juniper berries, crushed
4 cloves garlic, crushed
salt and pepper to taste
Peel the potatoes and grate them coarsely. Wash thoroughly and dry with paper towels. Melt the butter and oil in a heavy skillet. Mix the juniper, garlic, salt and pepper with the potatoes. Press the mixture into the pan and cook, covered, for 10 minutes over high heat, making sure they don’t burn. Turn them over, flipping them onto a plate and then sliding them back into the pan. Cook another 10 minutes, then lower the heat and cook 15–20 minutes over medium heat until they are done. They should be crisp outside and creamy within.
The potatoes can be eaten as is, or with sausages, eggs or meat.