Dhaka, Bangladesh
Three recipes to make the most of the season's new potatoes

Three recipes to make the most of the season's new potatoes

(From previous issue) Adjectives used to describe the potato often include "humble" or "lowly", but with this repertoire of permutations, I can't help but feel the potato is undersold, weighed down by history as a cheap staple meant only to mop up gravy and fill the belly. Let's make a resolution to devote ourselves with renewed effort to its modest splendour. Pressed parsley potatoes You need waxy potatoes for this, which keep the whole thing together, and should plan ahead and make this the day before to meld the flavours and firm the loaf. Serves 4 as a side dish 500g large charlotte potatoes, peeled medium red onion, peeled and finely sliced 3 garlic cloves, peeled and very finely sliced 2 tbsp white wine vinegar 30g salted butter 40g fresh flat-leaf parsley, stalks removed Salt and black pepper 1 Boil the potatoes until properly soft, drain them, put them back into the still-warm pan to dry off, then slice them lengthways as finely as possible (around 2mm thick). 2 Steam the onion and garlic over boiling water (or over the boiling potatoes, if you can) for around 5-10 minutes, or until soft and tender. Put them into a small bowl, add the vinegar and leave them to steep for 10 minutes or so. 3 While the potatoes are cooking, melt the butter and line a medium loaf tin with clingfilm, ensuring you have some extra at the sides to fold over the top. Chop the parsley very finely, sprinkling it with some crunchy sea salt and black pepper as you chop to help release moisture. Remove the onion and garlic from their bath, then squeeze out all the surplus vinegar. 4 To assemble the pressed potatoes, first cover the base of the loaf tin with a layer of potatoes, add a further grinding of sea salt and pepper, then add a dribble of melted butter, then a layer of chopped parsley and a strewing of onion mix. Repeat until you have used up all the ingredients, finishing with a layer of potato. It should make 3-4 full layers. 5 Fold over the clingfilm to cover and put a second loaf tin inside to press down on the mixture. Put the heaviest weight you can find inside the top tin. Leave in the fridge overnight to firm up and combine flavours. 6 When you are ready to eat, turn it out on to a board, unwrap, season and slice a section per person. Lemon and potatoes (main picture) The tang of lemon and its gooey caramelised rinds combine beautifully with the soft potato here. Serves 4 400-500g new potatoes, scrubbed, but not peeled 1 unwaxed lemon 50g butter Salt and black pepper 1 Scrub the potatoes and slice them very finely, as you would for a dauphinoise - around 2-3mm thick. 2 Halve the lemon lengthways and remove the knobbly top and bottom. Slice the lemon into 2-3mm half-moon slices. 3 Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6. Take a shallow ovenproof dish (mine was a 32cm-long oval) and grease the base and sides with a little butter. Assemble the dish by arranging a row of potato slices across the end of the dish, propped up at a steep angle (around 45 degrees). Against this row, prop a couple of slices of lemon, rind side up. Tuck in a couple of slivers of butter and a light seasoning of salt and pepper. Continue to assemble in this way, row by row, until the dish is full. It will have a pretty scalloped look to it. 4 Dot a few more tiny knobs of butter over the top and add more seasoning if you like. Cover with foil, seal well around the edges, and pop into the hot oven for around 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender to the tip of a knife. Remove the foil and continue to cook for 30-40 more minutes, or until the potatoes and lemons are browned and caramelised. Baste with the pooled butter during the cooking time to help browning. Two ways with new potatoes Boil 500g of scrubbed new potatoes in salted water until they are tender - which takes around 20 minutes. Drain, let them steam-dry for a couple of minutes, then cut into bite-size chunks. Then follow one of the following recipes. Serves 4. With fennel flowers and orange Succulent new potatoes with creamy fennel and zest of orange. 1 Gently mix the potatoes with 1 tbsp white wine vinegar and the grated zest and juice of half an orange. 2 Add 2 trimmed and finely sliced spring onions to the mix along with a generous dollop of creme fraiche. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. 3 Finally, snip in little flowers from 5 sprays of fennel, leaving the tiniest stem on each. Gently mix and serve warm. With wet garlic and lovage Earthy lovage combines beautifully with new-season wet garlic and potatoes. If the garlic is very new, it only needs the outer skin peeled off to slice through the entire bulb - embryonic cloves and all. If the inner skins of each clove have formed any papery quality, peel them in the usual way and slice finely. 1 Heat 3 tbsp olive oil in a pan over a low to medium heat and soften one finely sliced bulb of wet garlic - do not allow it to take colour. 2 Add the potatoes and toss to coat with the garlicky oil. Add 3 tbsp cider vinegar and let it bubble up around the potatoes. Toss a couple more times, then tip everything into a bowl along with all the pan juices. Taste, then season with salt and pepper if you think it needs it. 3 Mix through a few leaves of finely shredded lovage, and serve warm. Curate's pudding This comes from an age when re-use of leftovers was sacrosanct. We are familiar with puddings that use up leftover bread; here is one created to put mashed potato to work. I found this while browsing a very battered copy of Mrs Beeton - although, as most of her recipes were purloined from elsewhere, it no doubt had an earlier origin. Serves 6 60g butter, at room temperature, plus a little extra for greasing 120g granulated sugar 6 tbsp cold mashed potato 2 eggs, beaten Zest and juice of 1 lemon A pinch of salt 2 tbsp milk 1 Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6 and grease a 20cm pie dish with a little of the butter. 2 Cream the butter and sugar with an electric whisk in a bowl until you have a thick and grainy mixture. Stir in the mashed potato, then add the beaten eggs bit by bit until all is incorporated. 3 Finally, add the lemon zest and juice, the pinch of salt and the milk. 4 Pour the mixture into the pie dish and cook in the oven for 30 35 minutes, or until golden around the edges, gently firm and sizzling. 5 Eat just warm, with a little thin cream and maybe some fruit on the side.

Share |