I I have not always liked potatoes. Mash, pale and smooth on the plate, was my nemesis when I grew up, but as my taste buds developed, so did my appreciation. Now I’m sunk by the fluffy insides of a blistered jacket potato or a triple-cooked potato chip, and I’m not talking about the velvety depths of a dauphinoise. Then there are the waxy varieties: jersey royals, cornish new, ratte, and pink fir, to name just a few. That wonderfully firm texture and sweet, nutty flavor is a treat.
Salt crusted roast sweater royals with spiced tomato sauce and watercress aioli
The salt slowly encrusts the potatoes, which helps to flavor the mild tomato sauce. Blitz the watercress with vegan mayonnaise, if you like.
Homework 10 minutes
Cook 40 min
It serves 4
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
2 teaspoons hot smoked paprika
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 400g can of chopped tomatoes
1.25kg small Royals Jersey, scrubbed
4 tablespoons of sea salt
For the aioli
2 small garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1-2 teaspoons white wine vinegar, try
Juice of ½ lemon
150 ml of extra virgin olive oil
150 ml of vegetable oil
50g watercress leaves, finely chopped
Start with the tomato sauce. Heat the oil in a small skillet over medium heat, then sauté the onion, seasoning with a few generous pinches of salt, for six to eight minutes, until soft. Add the garlic, cook for a few more minutes, until fragrant, then add the paprika and cinnamon, and cook for another minute, until the onions have been stained. Add tomatoes, simmer 20 minutes, until sauce is thick and reduced, then season to taste.
Meanwhile, place the potatoes and sea salt in a large, wide skillet (ideally a size where the potatoes can settle in a single layer) and add enough cold water just to cover. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 20-25 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Remove the water, leave the potatoes in the pan, return to a simmer and continue cooking over low heat, turning occasionally, until a layer of salt forms on them.
While the tomatoes simmer and the potatoes simmer, make the aioli. Put the garlic in a tall pitcher with the egg yolks, mustard, vinegar, lemon juice, and several large pinches of salt. Stir with a hand mixer for 30 seconds, then with the mixer still running, slowly add the olive oil in a thin, steady stream. After one minute, increase the drip to a fine stream. Once you have added all the olive oil, pour in the vegetable oil, this time in a thicker stream, until it is emulsified and combined. Add the watercress, whisk again briefly, then taste and add more lemon juice or salt, if necessary. Serve the salt crusted potatoes alongside the warm tomato sauce and devilishly delicious aioli.
And for the rest of the week …
Aioli is wonderfully versatile – use it on a roasted potato or with croquettes or tempura. Also great in an egg sandwich with leftover watercress.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism