How to cook new potatoes

How to cook new potatoes

29 March 2017

We explore how to cook new potatoes – a seriously underrated springtime staple that are a joy to cook with.

How to cook new potatoes

We explore how to cook new potatoes – a seriously underrated springtime staple that are a joy to cook with.

Potatoes may seem like the sort of year-round staple that doesn't have a particular season, but when spring comes, it's definitely new potato time. Out with chips and heavy mash, these little beauties bring a huge variety of new dishes to the table. Potatoes get a bad rep when it comes to health and are often the first to go when dieting, but new potatoes are naturally low in fat and surprisingly high in vitamin C, so don’t write them off.

New, early or baby potatoes are exactly that – the same variety as the regular potato but not fully grown. The season therefore starts in April and lasts through the summer until they start getting bigger. As the sugar in new potatoes has not yet turned into starch, they are a little sweeter than their fully grown counterparts.

New potatoes come in many different varieties; Anya, Charlotte, the Welsh Pembrokeshire Early and the Scottish Ayrshire, but perhaps the most famous and well-loved is the Jersey Royal. The unique flavour comes from the rich and fertile soil on the island of Jersey. Like Champagne, Parmigiano-Reggiano and Melton Mowbray pork pies, Jersey Royals have PDO status.

When buying new potatoes, they often come covered in soil – although it may be a time-consuming prospect, unwashed potatoes often last longer as the soil protects them from bruising.

How to cook new potatoes

Due to their versatility, new potatoes make a great summer carb option, served hot or cold, boiled or roasted. Jersey Royals, as with all the finest ingredients, are best cooked simply. Boil for 10–15 minutes (depending on size) then toss with a generous knob of good-quality, salted butter and some fresh herbs.

Alternatively, roast the potatoes whole with olive oil and fresh rosemary, the end result is more like dozens of rich, delicious mini baked potatoes than your regular roasties, and are great straight from the oven (with leftovers kept for a next-day treat).

Due to the waxy nature of the little tubers, they make a wonderfully rich side when cooked confit. Why not switch the oil for butter – the ultimate pairing.

What new potatoes go with...

New potatoes pair well with all the stars of spring: asparagus, spring onions, wild garlic and watercress.

Commonly found in lovely summer salads, herby pesto makes a great dressing for new potatoes, and you can experiment with endless flavour combinations. Urvashi Roe dresses Pembrokeshire Early potatoes with a peppery nasturtium pesto recipe and mixes with soft quail eggs and sunflower seeds for a great twist on a classic.

Shaun Hill serves up some roasted Jersey Royals flavoured with garlic and rosemary, topped with shining grilled sardines and drizzled in salsa verde for a beautifully summery seafood dish. Dominic Chapmap serves up a classic potato salad recipe with a potent homemade aioli and charred spring onions for this ultimate summer side.

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