No craving strikes like a starch craving. Waking up the other day, I had an all-consuming (literally) urge to eat inordinate amounts of potato salad.
Luckily, it’s the peak season of Jersey Royals. Unlike the rest of UK potato crop that is more or less sustained and stored yearlong, Jersey Royal potatoes are a seasonal gem with a lot of character under paper-thin skin. More of a terroir thing than a genetic thing, they get their distinctiveness from the soil of the Jersey island and the local vraic seaweed used as fertiliser.
Last year, my Gujarati flatmate taught me how to make Jersey Royal dry potato curry, but this year I needed them to fulfil my potato salad fantasies.
At the calculated risk of alienating many of you: I’ve never been a huge fan of mayonnaise. Of the many worldwide variations of potato salad, areas of South Germany (e.g. Bavaria, Swabia, Franconia) seems to make dairy-free kartoffelsalat an absolute treat instead of an alternative option for dieters.
It’s usually tossed up with bacon instead (go figure), but I subbed in pops of both colour and flavour by chopping up some oil-soaked sun-dried tomato to add more sweet acidity alongside the vinegar/broth base. Scallions and chives replace traditional white onion and, not unlike rocket, raw watercress is an especially peppery springtime addition. With its floating hollow stems suitable for aquatic life and vitamin content laundry list, it’s reminiscent of last week’s samphire but tastes much milder and more familiar.
Unsurprisingly, I’m no stranger to starch cravings… if for some bizarre reason you’re not in the mood for a stodgy, savoury, vaguely-salad-like concoction of pure joy, maybe some hasselbacks, tortilla española, or gnocchi would do the trick! But back to the stodgy, savoury, vaguely-salad-like concoction of pure joy:
Kartoffelsalat (Bavarian Potato Salad)
- 500g jersey royal potatoes
- 50g watercress
- 3 spring onions, chopped
- handful of chives, chopped
- handful of parsley, chopped
- 1 T dill, dried or chopped fresh
- 4 sun-dried tomatoes, diced
- ¼ cup hot broth (like this vegetable scrap stock)
- 2 T mild vinegar
- 1 T whole-grain mustard
- neutral vegetable oil
- pinch of sugar
- white pepper
- sea salt
Wash potatoes thoroughly, cut into roughly equal sized pieces, and submerge in a pot of cold water. Bring to a boil, checking often and removing from the heat and draining when fork-tender, but not overcooked. Shock with cold water to halt the cooking process, then drain again into a clean bowl.
Pour the vinegar and hot broth over drained potatoes whilst they are still hot and more suited to soaking up the flavour and seasonings. Mix in the mustard, a pinch of sugar, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Slowly drizzle in a neutral vegetable oil (olive oil doesn’t work too well in this case) until a nice ratio is achieved and the potatoes are coated in a nice sheen.
Toss in all the chopped greens, dill, and sun-dried tomato. Set aside for at least an hour, or refrigerate overnight to develop flavour. Serve at room temperature.