Jersey royal potatoes with peas, wild garlic and crème fraîche
A recipe for one of my favourite ingredients (potatoes) from one of my favourite restaurants, Root in Bristol, whose chef, Rob Howell has written a glorious cookbook of their food which is basically vegetable-based without being wholly veggie.
This is the perfect recipe for early spring when the temperatures haven't quite caught up with the produce.
Rob writes: "This dish is a joyous celebration of the arrival of spring. The winter months are a fast passing memory and green shoots are showing all around. Jersey Royals are such beautiful potatoes with a unique flavour. If you can’t be bothered to make the pea purée then the Jerseys will still be great simply served with good butter, fresh peas and some locally growing wild garlic – a true spring feast."
1kg Jersey Royal potatoes
2 bay leaves
2 thyme sprigs
2 mint sprigs
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tablespoons cooking oil
2 shallots, diced
200g fresh peas
25g unsalted butter
2 tablespoons chopped chives
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 handfuls of wild garlic
4 tablespoons crème fraiche
FOR THE PEA PURÉE
50ml rapeseed oil
1 shallot, sliced
1 garlic clove, sliced
600ml vegetable stock
375g frozen peas
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Place the potatoes in a large saucepan with enough cold water just to cover them. Add the bay, thyme and mint sprigs, and the crushed garlic and salt. (Feel free to use other aromatics, if you wish – just any that you have available. For example, parsley, rosemary and oregano would all work, too.) Place the pan over a medium heat and bring to a low simmer. Cook the potatoes gently for 20–25 minutes, until just tender to the point of a knife. (They will continue to cook a little once you’ve drained them, so you don’t want them too soft.) Drain and leave to cool in the colander.
To make the pea purée, heat the rapeseed oil in a large saucepan over a high heat. When hot, add the shallot and garlic, season with a touch of salt and fry for 2–3 minutes, until softened. Add the vegetable stock and bring to the boil. Add the peas and season again with salt and this time pepper, too. Take the pan off the heat and drain the peas, reserving the stock.
Set aside 100ml of the reserved stock in a jug. Put the peas in a food processor, add a little of the remaining stock liquid and blend. Keep adding stock through the feed tube little by little until you have a lovely, smooth pea purée. If you want an extra-smooth consistency, pass the purée through a sieve, but it’s not essential. Check the seasoning and cool the purée as quickly as possible – transferring it to a bowl and setting it inside a larger bowl filled with ice and placing in the fridge is a good way to do this. Chill until needed. (It also keeps well for 2–3 days in the fridge and freezes well.)
Heat the cooking oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. When hot, add the shallots and fry for 30 seconds, then add the cooled potatoes and season with salt and pepper. Add the fresh peas and the reserved 100ml of stock, and bring to the boil.
Reduce to a simmer, then add the butter, herbs and wild garlic (reserve a few wild garlic flowers for garnish). Stir through the pea purée, adding enough to coat the potatoes and to create a nice saucy pan of green goodness (you can use any remaining purée as a soup or to serve with fish). Check the seasoning one last time and transfer to a serving bowl. Garnish with wild garlic flowers and serve with the crème fraîche on top.
What to drink: You could go for either a red or white wine with this dish. A light pinot noir would be a good pairing - it always goes well with peas or, as the dish is so classically British, maybe think of an English white like Bacchus or even an English chardonnay
Credit: Root by Rob Howell (Bloomsbury Publishing, £26) is out now. Photography by Alexander J Collins.
Rob Howell's restaurant Root is at Wapping Wharf, Bristol. rootbristol.co.uk
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