A New Food Color Palette, to Feel Better — Une nouvelle palette culinaire de couleurs, pour être mieux

purple potato vitelotte egg flan vegetables tartine gourmande

Egg Flan with Purple Potato and Green Vegetables
Flan aux oeufs, vitelottes et légumes verts

When we were in Peru in November last year, besides wanting to visit Inca ruins and observe terrace harvesting, climb Machu Picchu and discover colorful markets, I had dreams of seeing fields of potatoes. I wanted to touch, feel and taste them, and discover the hundreds of varieties that Peruvians produce. But perhaps this would have required a special trip, solely devoted to that purpose. At the market, we saw potatoes, ate many, but even more than potatoes, we were fed on quinoa — which belongs to a story that I will share later, if you do not mind. I was particularly looking forward to learning more about colored ones like the Purple Peruvian potatoes which I am quite fond of.

Peruvian Purple Potatoes were amongst the first variety of potatoes harvested in the Peruvian Andes, saved for special occasions for Inca kings. Also called Blue Potatoes, they are oval in shape with a purple black outer skin and a purple inner flesh. Their texture is creamy and when cooked, they hold their shape well. They are great in salads, roasted or fried. One should note that it is preferable not to store them in the refrigerator because cold temperatures convert starch into sugar, making potatoes sweeter and darker in color once cooked. They should also not be stored with onions because, when together, they release gases that accelerate decay in both. What else? They are delicious, and of course, there is this magical deep color, because it is also all about the color, isn’t it?

So like typical of foods that I cook, I chose to play with colors even more and introduced some green in the color palette of my dish. And then, there would be yellow because of the recent craving I had had for eggs.

Green, yellow, purple.

I liked it.

As I was looking for something to serve for a light dinner, I thought of making small individual egg flans with green asparagus, zucchini peels, fresh herbs like tarragon and slices of purple potatoes. The dish was light, colorful, flavorful, and with a large bowl of salad, it made a great dinner for a girl in need of new colors on her plate. And, do you know why? I am not exactly sure how much of the story I should tell you before you get bored with it. Because indeed, it is a long long story, one that required a lot of research, talking and thinking! But now that I have found out more light on it, let’s say that for a few weeks, I will have to remove a lot of the foods I love, with their color and flavor, oranges, lemons, limes, eggplant, tomatoes, vinegar and more — trust me, you do not want to hear the complete list! Call it a cleansing phase. This is also *what* I brought back with me from Peru. But I am glad to have finally found out about the root of the problem. It will surely be an interesting journey. Oddly enough, I am actually looking forward to it, with its many challenges and discoveries.

Until the palette of colors and food is complete again.

blue potato vitelotte egg flan vegetables tartine gourmande

Egg Flan with Purple Potato and Green Vegetables

(For 4 people, molds 5 “)

You need:

  • 6 eggs
  • 4 Tbsp whole milk
  • 2 Tbsp heavy cream
  • Chopped herbs like tarragon and chives
  • 16 green asparagus
  • 2 red scallions
  • 1 zucchini
  • 2 large purple potatoes
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper


  • Peel the potatoes and slice them.
  • Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a non-stick frying pan and sauté the potatoes for 5 min or so. Remove.
  • Cut the tips of the asparagus and keep. Cut the rest in small sticks (0.5 inch).
  • Cook them all for 3 min in salted boiling water. Rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process.
  • Cut the zucchini in long strips. Heat 1 Tbsp in the frying pan and sauté for 2 to 3 min. Keep.
  • Slice the scallions thinly.
  • Chop the herbs.
  • Preheat your oven at 350 F.
  • Break the eggs in a bowl and beat. Add the milk and cream.
  • Season with salt and pepper and add the herbs. Mix well.
  • Grease four 5 ” molds.
  • Pour the egg preparation in.
  • Place in the oven and cook for 5 min.
  • Remove and arrange all vegetables on top of the eggs slightly cooked.
  • Place in the oven again and cook for 10 to 15 min, until golden in color.
  • Add a splash of olive oil, chopped chives and and fresh scallion slices. Serve with a large green salad.

Le coin français
Flan aux oeufs, vitelottes et légumes verts

(Pour 4 personnes, moules de 12,5 cm)

Ingrédients :

  • 6 oeufs
  • 4 càs de lait entier
  • 2 càs de crème liquide
  • Mélange d’herbes hachées, ciboulette et estragon
  • 16 asperges vertes
  • 2 oignons tiges rouges
  • 1 courgette
  • 2 grosses vitelottes
  • Huile d’olive
  • Sel et poivre

Étapes :

  • Pelez les pommes de terre et coupez-les en rondelles.
  • Chauffez 2 càs d’huile d’olive dans une poêle anti-adhésive et faites-les revenir pendant 5 min.
  • Coupez les pointes de asperges et réservez-les. Coupez le reste en petits bouts de 1 cm.
  • Blanchissez le tout pendant 3 min dans de l’eau bouillante salée. Passez sous l’eau froide pour arrêter la cuisson.
  • Coupez la courgette en longues lanières. Faites-les revenir dans 1 càs d’huile d’olive, pendant 2 à 3 min. Réservez.
  • Coupez les oignons en rondelles fines.
  • Hachez les herbes.
  • Préchauffez votre four à 180 C.
  • Battez les oeufs dans un saladier et ajoutez la crème et le lait, avec les herbes. Mélangez bien.
  • Assaisonnez de sel et de poivre.
  • Huilez 4 petits moules de 12,5 cm de diamètre.
  • Versez la préparation aux oeufs.
  • Mettez au four pendant 5 min et ressortez.
  • Disposez alors les légumes sur les oeufs un peu cuits.
  • Remettez au four pendant environ 10 à 15 min, jusqu’à ce que le dessus soit doré.
  • Arrosez d’un filet d’huile d’olive, de ciboulette hachée et d’oignons tiges hachés. Servez avec une belle salade verte.

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Posted in French Inspired, Gluten Free, Vegetarian


  1. Oh my, I’ve often wondered what would happen to my food writing if I were suddenly forced to exclude certain foods or even stopped enjoying food entirely. Good luck with it, we’ll share your journey, wherever it leads …

    BTW I did the Machu Picchu trek in 2000, quite something. Sadly, I wasn’t yet paying enough attention to food (though I remember some big complaints about the food in our third-world camping experience) to remember potatoes as, ahem, vividly.

  2. I hope you’ll be able to eat the foods you love again soon. This flan looks beautiful, I love all the colors!

  3. wow, bea. i was unaware you came and visited my stomping grounds recently. peru is certainly a gourmet’s paradise and it’s wonderful to see you are capitalizing on its unique largesse. (wonderful photos, as well!)

    given your interest in mixing colors and textures as part of your creations, i would be very interested in seeing your approach to such staples of the peruvian table as causa and ceviche.

    peruvian chefs such as gaston acurio have been using the country’s unique larder as a doorway to introducing the world to the unique cuisine that has emerged here. i have to say, i’d be very interested in seeing what a boston-by-way-of-france version of novoandino cooking would produce.

  4. Une merveille cette palette de couleurs. Rien de tel pour donner de l’appétit!

  5. I hope you can after a while successfully reintroduce all the food groups into your diet! Last summer my body all of a sudden reacted allergically to raw foods (in the believe of eating extra healthy, for a while had celebrated the arrival of summer with mostly salads and stone fruits, which I love), and I spent 6 weeks of summer with a very strict cleansing diet. Best wishes!

  6. You started well on your adventure with this new color palette. I hope you get to the root of the problem with your cleansing. La santé est ce que nous avons de plus précieux.

  7. I’ve read this post with a lot of interest. I had no idea that purple potatoes existed! What do they taste like? Just like normal potatoes, or….?

  8. WOW!! What an amazing looking dish! Nature has the BEST colour palette to be sure. I am sure it tasted as good as it looks! All the best with the cleansing. I hope it goes well and all gets sorted for you. 🙂

  9. I hope you feel better soon Bea. Still, your purple dinner is a very spectacular one to be allowed to keep so hopefully with a few more dishes like that one it won’t feel like too much of a hardship!

  10. these tarts look amazing. sorry to hear about the cleansing period 🙂 – but i hope you’ll feel better soon

  11. I’m positive that a creative soul like yourself will have little problem creating beautiful recipes on a restrictive diet. Think of it as challenge and tackle it head on! Good luck, I’ll definitely be checking up on your progress.

  12. I’d have not thought of using these skinny purple yams like this. That is just too clever 🙂 I’d only do tempura purple yams hehe..:) This looks like a perfect frittata / tart 🙂

  13. Completely gorgeous! I like your technique of partially cooking the eggs so that the vegetables will stay in place when you add them.

  14. Alanna, yes it is a challenge indeed, but in a way, quite enriching. Thanks for your words!

    Ana, thanks

    Kat, yes I am convinced I will, thank you.

    Bergeou, merci.

    Evinrude, thanks, I hope that you like it.

    Tiuscha, merci.

    Kleph, thanks for your note and email (to which I will respond shortly!) Your tips will be kept preciously as I definitely want to go back. We certainly did not have enough time to see all there is to see in Peru. I am a big fan of ceviche, as a matter of fact, and cook it often. Thanks again.

    Yoyo, thank you.

    Sha, merci bien. Tant mieux 😉

    Merisi, oh yes, I surely hope so! I am looking into this with a positive eye. A thing that I am now convinced a lot of us should so, to revisit places that we do not know so well, and experiment more on how food connects us to our bodies.

    Kim, thank you. You are right, our health is the most important thing, and I am looking forward to learning a lot of details about my reaction to some foods.

    Ales, thank you. It is indeed.

    Maninas, they taste like normal potatoes yes. Hard to explain, you will have to try!

    Colleen, thank you.

    Sophie, thanks for your words. Yes, you know, it is funny but I already feel a ton better! A great revision in the “machine” 😉

    Sophie, merci.

    Tanna, thank you. I am convinced it will be all positive. I already know I am on the right track.

    Andreea, thank you!

    Mari, sweet of you to say. Thanks so much for your encouragements.

    MeltingWok, thank you!

    Lydia, oh yes, I always do, to make sure I put them where I want 😉

  15. All I can say is wow! They say food is an art, but THAT looks more like a painting than food. I am so impressed how such a simple concept looks so intricate and colorful! This inspires me to want to put a food as art section on Recipe4Living.com. My compliments!

  16. I second what everyone has said. You have outdone yourself again Bea. I love the array of colours, its like a rainbow in a dish. Just gorgeous.

  17. As always, your photography is so very beautiful – love the colors here, especially, and how you set up the shots. And it looks quite yummy, too! 🙂

  18. Bea, tu as l’art de tourner les choses dans le sens positif. Ces nouvelles couleurs sont incroyablement belles. Bon courage pour la phase de “purification”.

  19. Thanks a lot Hillary for your nice note.

    And the same to JenJen, Nicole and Gracianne, thank you!

  20. Difficile de décrire mes sentiments en voyant ce petit plat pour la première fois, en deux mots qui se ressemblent: irrésistible et attrayant!
    J’adore cette composition aux couleurs originales.

  21. j’aime beaucoup beacoup votre site-web!
    toutes les photos son’t trés jolies

    I made it today for brunch, and it was AMAZING! I didn’t have any heavy cream, so I used soy milk instead, which turned out to be quite tasty.