Spuds up! Top tips and recipes for making the most of buttery new potatoes
When it comes to food, there's nothing more exciting than harvesting it yourself. And digging your own potatoes before cooking and eating them has to be up there as the most soul-warming, satisfying thing to do.
It's not just the process of stepping on the garden fork then lifting it out to reveal the mud-covered golden nuggets, but the flavour of freshly dug potatoes is something that's quite unlike any other. The almost-sweet nuttiness of a fresh, new potato is really pronounced and the texture is perfectly waxy and floury at the same time.
When you are buying potatoes, just like any other vegetable, the more local, the better - and the muddier, the better too. When veggies have been washed, they tend to deteriorate quite quickly, losing flavour and nutrients, so a bag of muddy spuds - from down the road, if possible - is just what you're looking for!
When I'm cooking new potatoes, I love to add a good pinch of salt, or even to cook them in sea water, which adds so much flavour and, I guess, some goodness too. A couple of sprigs of mint, thyme or tarragon will work as well, and add some flavour. Add a dab of Irish butter and some sea salt flakes over the top and, frankly, you have a simple feast like no other.
You could also add your new potatoes into a delicious salad, like the one pictured opposite, and you have a perfectly summery main course or starter. Or, do as the Spanish do, and make a tortilla de patatas for a beach picnic. The classic potato and onion tortilla, opposite, is perfectly portable and just what you need out in the fresh, blustery Irish air.
New Potato Recipes:
- New potato and chicken liver salad with glazed shallot
- Spanish tortilla with bacon, cheddar and marjoram
- New Potato Salad with bacon, capers and gherkins
If you've bought, or dug, some lovely, muddy new potatoes, and want to keep them for a few days, cover them with damp newspaper, and store somewhere cool, away from light.
The very best way to eat a freshly boiled new potato, in my opinion, is with good Irish butter slowly melting on top and a nice sprinkle of sea salt. It's something that I long for when I've been away from home; a combination of three quintessential Irish flavours that can't be beaten. We now have a handful of companies harvesting Irish sea salt, and the ones that I've been using a lot are Co Mayo's Achill Island Sea Salt from Keel in Achill, see
Jun 29, 2015 News