garlic and lemon new potatoes
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Jersey Royals are the earliest and arguably the nicest new potatoes you get in the UK. They are (duh!) grown on Jersey, just off the coast of England, where the milder (relatively) and warmer (comparably) climate lets them turn up earlier than mainland England. But the flavour – and God, is it worth paying over four quid for a pound when they first appear, tiny as chickpeas! – is unmatched and comes from the seaweed that is used to fertilise the soil on the island.
They’ve been grown there since the 19th century, first called Jersey Royal Flukes and ironically (cause now we hand pick the smallest, or at least I do and you should) they were an accidental find of an enormous spud at a local market stall. Put in the ground, it cropped with little ones, kidney shaped and tremendously tasty.
Those lovely little beauties MUST be bought from a farmer’s market, or at least a market stall which sells them properly covered with soil, dirty and scrubbable. Buy washed ones from the supermarket and you might as well be eating GM so-called new potatoes grown in the middle of December under a polytunnel in Abu Dhabi. No flavour.
It’s worth the effort and the scrubbing and you might say it’s almost blasphemous to cook them other than in plenty of water and serve other than with a little butter and salt. But this is an absolutely gorgeous recipe and cooking them like this actually brings out the flavour even better. They are not at all greasy. I thought they would taste like roasties but I was totally wrong – they taste so lemony you wish your roast meat would take on flavours like this. Great recipe – from Tom Kerridge featuring in the BBC Good Food magazine.
I served them just with new season stir fried spring cabbage with lots of dill - after all what more can you want than a dish of potatoes with cabbage...?
garlic and lemon new potatoesServings: 2-4Time: a couple of hours
- 500 – 600g small new potatoes (Jersey Royal best, if you’re in UK)
- 2 heads of garlic, split into cloves but unpeeled
- ½ tsp Sichuan or white peppercorns
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 lemon, sliced
- a few sprigs of lemon thyme
- 300ml good rapeseed or groundnut oil
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4. Wash the potatoes and scrub if they need it, chop larger ones in half.
2. Put them into a casserole dish with a lid, about 20cm, add the garlic cloves, peppercorns, sprinkle over the salt and tuck the lemon slices and thyme sprigs in between the potatoes. Pour over the oil, there should be enough to almost, but not completely, cover them.
3. Put the lid on and bake for 1 – 1 ¼ hour, check with the tip of a knife if the potatoes are tender. let them stand, covered, for 10 minutes, then drain off the oil or scoop the potatoes and the garlic out of the oil into a serving dish. You can serve them with stir-fried spring cabbage for a wholesome vegetarian supper.