Antoine-Augustin Parmentier, who was an agriculturalist and an apothecary in France in the 18-19 centuries, was the first person, who popularised the potatoes in Europe. He was born on the 17-th of August and in the year 1757 he joined the army, where from he was put into prison and had to spend some year of his life in the role of a prisoner of the war, which took place in Germany, and namely in this prison his forced ration consisted chiefly of the potatoes, whose nutritional quality was appreciated at its true value by Antoine-Augustin Parmentier. But at the same time it is important to mention here that at that period of time it was considered that the poatoes are suitable only for the prisoners and pigs.
In France the scientists adhered the opinion that the potatoes may provoke such an illness as leprosy, the clerics were sure that these vegetables excite the carnality and at the same time they considered it to be a Protestant vegetable, and the gourments expressed the opinion that the potatoes were insipid, indiscreet and pompous. But it must be mention that in spite of the whole opposition God or the fate (accourding to our faith) has helped him to gain his aim, because when he returned to France in the year 1763, the harvest of the wheat was very poor, but at the same time Antoine-Augustin Parmentier guessed to make these vegetables look covetable and to arrange the approval of the celebrities of that time. The first aim, which was attained by him, was the arrangement of some trial plantings in the garden near the Palace of the Tuileries, but the fact, that this garden was guarded only during the daylight hours, was the reason why the potatoes were stolen during the nighttime.
At the same time he convinced Marie Antoinette to wear on her bosom a bunch of potato flowers and at the grand dinners, which were done in Benjamin Franklin presence and with his permission, all courses were prepared on the basis of potatoes. Louis XVI considered that France would thank Antoine-Augustin Parmentier some day for having found the potatoes for the poor people.
Andres Parmentier Potatoes
Yield: 16 servings
8 medium Idaho potatoes (8 to 10 ounces each), scrubbed and patted
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound beef tenderloin, trimmed, and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1/3 cup diced sweet onion, such as Vidalia or Maui
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
5 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
pinch of herbes de Provence
pinch of white pepper
1/3 cup heavy cream
6 ounces crumbled goat cheese
1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
Preheat an oven to 400°F.
Place the potatoes in a bowl and lightly coat with the oil. Transfer
to a sheet pan with enough room between the potatoes so they are
not touching. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until they easily collapse
Remove the potatoes from the oven and decrease the oven temperature
to 325?F. Cut each potato in half lengthwise. Scoop out the all
the cooked potato except for 1/8 of an inch around the potato shell
and transfer to a bowl. Set aside. Return the potato shells to the
sheet pan and set aside.
Heat a large saute pan over high heat until slightly smoking. Add
the butter and when completely melted, add the beef, onions and
garlic. Saute until the edges of the beef have slightly caramelized
and the onions are translucent and beginning to change color.
Add the vinegar, salt, herbes de Provence, and pepper and cook until
the liquid has completely evaporated.
Mash the potatoes until smooth. Pour in the cream, add the beef
mixture, adjust the seasoning and mix to completely incorporate.
Evenly distribute the mixture back into the baked potato shells.
Top with the goat cheese and sprinkle with the bread crumbs. Return
the potatoes to the oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes until the
cheese-crumb topping is lightly toasted. Serve immediately.