Though this serves a couple as a side dish, I would probably not share! The humble jacket potato is a staple in the Johnston family home (for the non-Brits that’s a baked potato). Mum and Dad would have this for lunch with cheese and beans, or as one of the two veg on the old meat-and-two-veg plate. Way back when – when I was a budding young chef with zero culinary knowledge – I’d hear my peers tell these over-the-top stories of how their parents and grandparents inspired them to cook by making all these fancy dishes I’d never heard of. I’m not going to lie; I felt a bit jealous and thought that I was hard done by in not having cooking memories with my folks.
Recipe Tag: potatoes
In my household, gratin is devoured greedily; the youngest is likely to go for double helpings so I always tend to make a lot. It’s an easy recipe to cut down if you need too, but also a brilliant dish for taking to a potluck. I tend to assume there will be at least one vegetarian, so use a vegetable stock rather then chicken. If I know there are vegans or people on a dairy-free regime present then I omit all the dairy, using oil in place of butter, increasing the vegetable stock to replace the cream and instead of the cheese I will often top the gratin with lightly oiled panko crumbs.
I get why people don’t want to make gnocchi: it does take a long time to make, and the vagueness of many recipes puts people off. But like most things, the more you make it the easier it gets and you get a feel for how the dough should co-operate. However, if it does discourage you, make this instead with bought gnocchi, as it really is a lovely combination of flavours.
Good gnocchi relies on the dryness of the potato which can be variable depending on the time of the season and where they were grown. I tend to use Agria here, but Ilam Hardy, Fianna or Red Rascal should work well. I bake the potatoes rather than steam, microwave or boil as it helps to reduce the amount of moisture. The egg yolk is optional – it does make the mixture more stable to work, but the resulting gnocchi can be a little sturdier than those made without it. It’s important, too, not to overwork the dough. I usually start off with the minimum of flour then add more as necessary. I make a large batch that’s more than what you will need for one meal, but I free-flow freeze the rest for a meal at a later point.
I love a good vege burger and these pattie-less ones are super simple to prepare and packed with so much flavour thanks to the salsa verde. I like my smoky potatoes a little charred and crispy so I give them a double cooking but they are also lovely eaten straight from the foil parcels if you’re not fussed. If you don’t have any preserved lemons for the aioli, use 1-2 teaspoons of finely grated lemon zest and a tiny squeeze of lemon juice instead. I like to be generous with the haloumi, but at a pinch, you could get away with using just one packet if preferred. This salsa verde recipe will make more than you’ll need for the burgers, but it will store in the fridge for up to a week and is delicious stirred through pasta, spread on sandwiches or dolloped on salads.
One of the biggest legacies from our colonial cuisine has to be eating potatoes as our primary starch. While our Irish immigrants bought this love, the majority of our early immigration was from England and Scotland, and they, too, loved the spud.
This simple salad is the perfect partner to the salmon with a fabulous combination of crunchy fennel, peppery rocket, vibrant citrus, earthy potatoes and beautiful flavours of fragrant herbs.
In Greece, skordalia is often served with octopus. It is something I’m extremely fond of, however it involves a borderline-sickening amount of raw garlic. In this take I've stayed true to the flavours of skordalia, but varied the texture with potato chunks and I've taken the sting out of the raw garlic by treating it to some time in hot butter. If you can’t get your hands on nettle, any green leaf will do the trick.
New-season lamb is delicious with these artichokes, but if I were serving to vegetarians I’d use vegetable stock and be inclined to add some sliced mozzarella to the pan as it came out the oven, allowing the flavours to meld for a few minutes.