Showing posts with label baby new potatoes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label baby new potatoes. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Jersey Royals with Mint #FoodieExtravaganza

Freshly dug Jersey Royal potatoes, boiled to tender perfection with mint and lavished with butter, are the perfect side dish to accompany any meal. Or just eat them alone, out of the bowl, with a spoon. 

When our Foodie Extravaganza theme of potatoes was chosen for August, I knew exactly what I was going to share: how to cook and best enjoy Jersey Royal potatoes. Now, if you can't get these where you live, you can substitute another thin-skinned new potato. But if you ever have the chance at some real Jersey Royals, don't let it get away! The official website says you can only buy them in the United Kingdom or in the Channel Islands, but my local grocery store in Dubai imported a number of kilos earlier this year.

A little history
Jersey, a small island in the English Channel, is well known, at least on the European side of the Atlantic, for growing wonderful potatoes, and they've been doing it for centuries. By 1879 many varieties of potatoes were grown on the island but that particular spring, up sprouted a plant that produced a unique kidney shaped tuber and it was duly dubbed the Jersey Royal Fluke. Ever since, Jersey Royals – the only potato with an official EU Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status - have been planted by hand on Jersey and fertilized with the nutrient rich seaweed, called vraic, which the tides deposit with regularity on the gleaming shores. Many attribute the fresh taste of Jersey Royals to this organic fertilizer.

A little personal history
My husband Simon’s grandparents moved to the island from England back in the 1960s, choosing to retire there, I’m sure, for myriad reasons, not the least of which was its tax-free status, proximity to the UK and its incredible natural beauty and abundant fresh produce. The first time I visited, summer of 1992 it was, we were living in Paris so we sped to Rennes on the snazzy TGV bullet train, hopped a regional train to St. Malo on the Brittany coast and then rode the waves on the ferry over to Jersey, hauling luggage, a travel cot and our 18-month-old toddler. But that fraught journey is a story for another day. Arriving on the island made it all worthwhile.

One sneak peek of the beauty. This is the view from the headland two minutes walk from our home.
I can't get enough of the gorgeous purple heather and the deep blue sea.

Simon’s delightfully eccentric Uncle John met us at the port and we sped home through the tight lanes, salty wind gusting through the open windows, his rattling old Volvo narrowly missing the ancient stone walls at almost every turn. We passed St. Helier, the main city on our right, bustling with shoppers and business folks. Farther along, beautiful St. Aubin’s Bay reflected the brilliant blue sky on our left, the summer sun highlighting Elizabeth Castle and brave swimmers paddling in the chilly water while families built sandcastles on the golden beach. We took a sharp right turn up a hill then nipped in to the left into a tiny gap in the great walls I would barely have noticed if we hadn’t turned. It was the Lucas Brothers farm shop where Uncle John bought all his vegetables – crisp cabbage, just dug carrots, beets and onions, fresh picked leafy greens and French beans among other things and, of course, Jersey Royal potatoes, the protective dirt still clinging to their paper thin skins.

Last week I was in Jersey, as I have been many times over the last 23 years, turning sharply in to Lucas Brothers farm shop two times in only three days, to buy Jersey Royals, and more Jersey Royals. Because when you are on the island during Royal season – April through July generally, depending on weather – that is what you want to eat. And, as far as tradition is concerned, there is only one way to cook them that lets the gorgeous natural taste of the Royals shine through. Many thanks to our next-door neighbor and Jersey cook extraordinaire, Mary, who taught me this so many years ago.

Jersey Royal potatoes, at room temperature
Few sprigs fresh mint
Fine sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Proper Jersey Royals still have all the dirt attached because it protects the tender skin and keeps the potatoes from getting bruised.

Rub the Royals by hand under some cool water to remove the dirt and any papery skins that are loose.

Put them in a large pot and cover with fresh water. Add in the sprigs of mint and some salt. I’ve since read on the internet that some folks advocate using seawater but I’ve never gone that far.

Bring the pot to a boil and then cook over a medium flame until a sharp knife poked in the Royals goes in easily, about 20 minutes.

Drain the Royals and add in a large chunk of fresh butter. Don't be shy here. It's Royal season, a time for generosity of spirit and extra butter.

Sprinkle with additional salt, a few good grinds of fresh black pepper and stir gently.

Garnish with more mint, if desired. Put the butter on the table for anyone who wants to add more to their Royals. If it’s fresh Jersey butter, I’m guaranteeing they will.


Are you a potato fan? Check out all the lovely potato dishes my Foodie Extravaganza friends are sharing today.

Foodie Extravaganza is where we celebrate obscure food holidays or cook and bake together with the same ingredient or theme each month. Many thanks to this month's host, Kathleen from Fearlessly Creative Mammas who honored her Idaho heritage by inviting us to share our favorite potato recipes.

Posting day is always the first Wednesday of each month. If you are a blogger and would like to join our group and blog along with us, come join our Facebook page Foodie Extravaganza. We would love to have you!

If you're a reader looking for delicious recipes check out our Foodie Extravaganza Pinterest Board! Looking for our previous parties? Check them out HERE.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Smoked Trout Stuffed Baby New Potatoes

Baby potatoes, baked till tender then stuffed with sour cream, chives and smoked trout, are a great make-ahead appetizer for any party.

What a fabulous day it is today! Not only is it National Margarita Day, but my Sunday Supper group is getting ready for the Red Carpet and the Academy Awards by bringing you wonderful recipes for drinks and dishes perfect for any party. Our host for this great event is Katie from Ruffles and Truffles. Since I’m hours and hours ahead of the US here in Dubai, the Oscars will be on live at 5:30 a.m. Monday morning for me. I’ve got it set up to record and I’ll watch while I sip coffee and eat my breakfast at a more reasonable and civilized time. After all, those award ceremonies are all about the glitz and glamor and I can’t imagine feeling glamorous at 5:30 a.m. and certainly not before the first cup of coffee!

Ingredients for 16 stuffed potatoes - This recipe is easily doubled or trebled.
8 small potatoes (Mine weighed a little more than 10 1/2 oz or 300g.)
Olive oil
1/2 cup or 120ml thick sour cream
Handful chives
1 3/4 oz or 50g hot smoked trout
Black pepper
Optional for serving: Cayenne

Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C. Give your baby new potatoes a good scrub to make sure they are clean. Dry them thoroughly and then put them in a baking tray and drizzle them with olive oil.

Bake them for about 30 minutes or until they are tender all the way through. Leave them to cool.

Meanwhile, mince your chives and add them to the sour cream. Stir well.

Use the tines of a fork to flake your smoked trout.

Once the little potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut them in half and scoop out the insides, leaving enough potato inside the skin so that they form little bowls. I used a grapefruit spoon.

In a small mixing bowl, combine your flaked trout with your potato insides and stir well.

Fold in the sour cream with chives.

Taste the mixture and add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Some trout is saltier than others so you have to use your own judgment.

Spoon the filling into the potato halves or use a plastic bag with a corner cut off to pipe it in.

Sprinkle with a little cayenne pepper. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.


And, without further ado, the nominees are:

For Best Supporting Appetizer
For Best Course in a Leading Role:
For Best Supporting Sips:
For Best Delectable Desserts:

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Green Beans with Baby New Potatoes

Like all great savory recipes, this one starts off with bacon and garlic.  How can it go wrong?  This dish was always, and always will be, a must at family Thanksgiving or Christmas meals.  My grandmothers made it with little red baby new potatoes and so would I, if I could have found them in Kuala Lumpur.

I actually made and photographed this dish just before Thanksgiving but never got around to sharing it.  As Christmas approaches it gets more vital!  This was the second dish I made (See the other one here.) and brought to the Christmas party in Cairo last Friday so you can see how essential to the holidays I believe it is.  

Today, I am off to scout the so-called expat area of Cairo, called Maadi.  You can be sure I will be on the lookout for baby new red potatoes.   

600g fine or regular green beans
400g baby new potatoes
4 cloves garlic
3-4 slices of streaky bacon
Olive oil
Sea salt
Black pepper
Cayenne pepper

If you have genuine new potatoes, just wash them to get rid of any dirt and then scrub the peelings.  If you have to use little ones or large potatoes with thick skins, peel them first and cut to an appropriately small size.

Cut your garlic into thin slices and your bacon into tiny strips.

Top and tail your green beans, then rinse them.  If you are using the regular size, you might want to cut them into small pieces as well.  (Cut them diagonally because it’s more fun and prettier than a straight cut.)

Fry the bacon until crispy and then add the garlic.  Fry for a few more minutes, stirring frequently.  You do not want the garlic to brown because it gets bitter.

Add in potatoes and cook, covered,  for a few minutes.   If it looks too dry, add a small sploosh of olive oil.   Add in the green beans and stir to coat with the bacon grease and olive oil.  Sprinkle in a little salt and the two peppers.

Cook, covered, until the potatoes are done and then till the green beans are as soft as you like them.   If you want your green beans really crunchy, delay adding them until the potatoes are almost cooked.

Check the salt and pepper, adding more if necessary.  Enjoy!

After note:  I had a lovely time with a new friend touring the shops of Maadi, finishing with lunch at a restaurant called Fusion overlooking the River Nile.  Sadly, I did not find any baby red new potatoes.  Yet.