Thanks to Nicki from the Potato Shop for the pic of her Gratin Dauphinois
The perfect potato for salads (and Gratin Dauphinois) – Nicola potato. (By the way, so you can try this potato out, we have discounted it this month…).
There are loads of salad potatoes on the market, but Nicola is unusual as it has flavour that many other varieties lack.
This is a firm, waxy potato that stands up well to boiling and keeps its shape well. It is an oval, smooth skinned potato with a creamy coloured flesh. No real need to peel, but you can do for an even more refined finish.
Since a combined plateful of cream and potato is so mouthwatering, we couldn’t help ourselves and had to Google for more recipes – but overall, Julia Child won the day and her recipe was so deliciously described by the blog Gratinee (devoted to Gratins!) – so what more is there to say?
1kg Nicola potatoes
1/2 clove unpeeled garlic
4 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
250ml boiling milk or cream
1) Preheat oven to 425F. Peel the potatoes and slice them 1/8 inch thick (use a mandolin or food processor). Place in cold water. Drain when ready to use.
2) Rub the baking dish with cut garlic. Smear the dish with 1 tablespoon of the butter.
3) Drain the potatoes and dry them in a towel. Spread half of them in the bottom of the dish. Divide over them half the salt, pepper, cheese, and butter.
4) Arrange the remaining potatoes over the first layer and season. Spread on the rest of the cheese and divide the butter over it. Pour on the boiling milk.
5) Set the baking dish in upper third of preheated oven. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until the potatoes are tender, the milk is absorbed, and the top is a golden brown.
If there is too much dairy above or you are thinking more along salad lines…this recipe (adapted slightly to seasonal food) is as sumptuous and rich but in the opposite direction – with fresh mint and pine nuts giving fresh colour and flavour to a potato dish.
YOTAM OTTOLENGHI’S ROYAL POTATO SALAD
4 eggs quartered (we don’t approve of Quail’s eggs, as per the original recipe and never recommend – unless you are lucky enough to find free-range..in which case, please tell us!)
800g Nicola potatoes, cleaned but not scrubbed
20g basil leaves
20g parsley leaves, plus extra for garnishing
60g Parmesan, grated (We recommend Twineham Grange Vegetarian Parmesan)
60g pine nuts
2 cloves garlic, crushed
200ml olive oil
150g petit pois (blanched for 30 seconds and refreshed)
½ tsp cider vinegar
1 bunch mint leaves. finely shredded
Salt and pepper
Put the eggs in a saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to a boil: simmer for 30 seconds (semi-soft) to two minutes (hard-boiled), according to taste. Refresh in cold water and peel.
Cook the potatoes for 15-20 minutes until soft but not falling apart. Meanwhile, put the basil, parsley, Parmesan, pine nuts and garlic in a food processor and blitz to a paste. Add the oil and pulse until you have a runny pesto.
As soon as they are cool enough to handle, cut the potatoes in two (they will absorb more flavour when hot) and toss with the pesto, peas, vinegar and sorrel. Mix well, even crush the potatoes slightly, so all the flavours mix. Taste and adjust the seasoning, being generous with the pepper. Cut the eggs in half and fold into the salad. Garnish with parsley.