Violet gnocchi: the Violet Queen can wow you with creative and spectacular dishes.
Violet Queen potatoes are considered an early variety belonging to the Perupas family. Although nowadays their natural habitat is along the banks of the Piave river in Italy, this tuber has very old roots and hails from even farther away—the Peruvian Andes to be exact. They were introduced in Europe by the Spanish in the 16th century, and are now grown in France and Treviso, but not many other places around the world. Unlike other potatoes of this type, the Violet Queen is characterized by blue, sometimes purple flesh due to a high concentration of anthocyanins. These are what give the potatoes the title of health allies. Anthocyanins are antioxidants that help fight the spread of free radicals and prevent cellular aging. That’s why the Violet Queen has powerful anti-aging and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as making hair and skin more luminous. They’re a real youth serum. Other well-known purple potato varieties include the Velvet Queen and the Vitelotte, which are particularly common in France.
Violet Queen potatoes can be cooked in the same way as white or yellow types. However, to best take advantage of their benefits, it’s best to roast or boil them rather than frying them, as this will make them greasy. This is the perfect ingredient to make a strong visual impact, and its color helps to create unique versions of dishes like gnocchi or mashed potatoes. The flavor is similar to chestnuts with an aroma a bit like hazelnuts, which makes them excellent for desserts as well. Eating the skin isn’t recommended because it’s tough and not easily digestible, but you can keep it on while cooking to bring out the color more. And this way, recipes also benefit from the nutrients in the skin, such as flavonoids and potassium.
Did you know that?
Violet Queens maintain their color even after cooking. As a rare and unique product, they’re mainly used in haute cuisine to add spectacle to a dish. For example, the chef Stefano Cerveni drew out the color to create a dish with a major chromatic impact: red prawns on a purple potato puree, with a Franciacorta sauce. To balance out their floury texture, mix them with other types of potatoes. This conserves the color but can change the flavor. And because of their surprising nutritional value, Violet Queens are perfect for vegan and vegetarian recipes.