Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Potato Salad

This country has great potatoes - it is not the home of 'anything that goes with chips' for no reason. In spring and early summer Borough Market sells the best of the new potatoes - jersey royals and cornish new mountains appear like magic to disappear again by the end of the day. Jersey royals have EU protection status, earned by the care with which this crop is, and always has been, grown.

These little nuggets of gold with their delicate papery skins are sown in January on the hillside farms, and fertilised with vraic, seaweed harvested from local beaches to create a delicate, nutty little kidney shaped potato that brings maybe 12 weeks of joy to the mainland.

They are best eaten simply - as with all perfect ingredients. Early on I buy them and rub off the loose skins then boil them for 10 minutes and serve them slicked in melted butter and a quick grinding of black pepper and maldon sea salt. But they also make a sublime potato salad. The best for me is keep it simple - choose the quantity you want to eat, rub the skins off, boil in salted water till tender, drain and cool, then - and this is an entirely intentional use of this usually pretentious term - enrobe in Hellmans (and yes it has to be Hellmans unless you make your own mayonnaise), perhaps with a grinding of pepper.

I made a big bowl of this salad Sunday night to accompany rare roast beef. Monday we had it in lunchboxes with slices of pork pie and raw sugarsnap peas. The last of it will go with the Irish smoked salmon I bought at Borough Saturday with a green salad and some crusty bread from Paul. It lasts happily for a few days in the fridge, cutting down on prep time for meals while adding a creamy lushness. And they're not even expensive!

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