A Penchant for Potatoes

The British love their potatoes! In my local grocery store here in London, there are about 15 varieties at any given moment.

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There are potatoes for baking, frying, steaming and mashing.

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There are big ones, small ones and “new potatoes” in red and brown.

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There are ones in bulk and ones in bags and heritage varieties like La Ruffe, Charlotte and Albert Bartlett Elfe.

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But my favorites this time of year are the raggedy-skinned Jersey Royals that have the distinctive terroir of the island where they are grown. These spuds are planted in the rich, well-drained soil of Jersey in the English channel and fertilized with seaweed from the island’s shores. The tubers have been grown in this manner since 1878 and have even been awarded a Protected Designation of Origin by the EU. The taste is golden and buttery with a texture that takes well to being roasted and crisped in the oven.

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My favorite way of preparing these is to scrub the skin well under water then roast them whole in a hot oven (180C) until they can be pierced easily with a fork. Smash them down using a potato masher until they are somewhat flattened; don’t worry if some of the fluffy innards spill out, that just makes for more bits to get crispy. Drizzle each tatty with a generous amount of good olive oil then sprinkle judiciously with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Pop back in the oven for 20-30 minutes until the potatoes are golden brown and crunchy.

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You could sprinkle the finished Jersey Royals with chives or dab on some sour cream or creme fraiche or eat them just plain. I like to make extras then fry them up the next day for breakfast with eggs – or just snack on them right out of the fridge!

The scruffy spud from the island of Jersey wins my vote every time. And all those other potatoes can find a home in someone else’s shopping trolley!

 

 

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5 thoughts on “A Penchant for Potatoes

  1. Hi Brooke, I continue to enjoy your periodic comments and commentary about eating in and about London. I am and have been a Novato boy for these past 40 years, and before that was raised down Gilroy-way (the Garlic Growing capitol of CA for oh, so long). If you haven’t already discovered Dr. Perlmutter, MD, you would likely like his advice on nutrition and foods (He hosted a dinner here in Novato at the Buck Institute and encouraged eating good dark chocolate as well as red wine ..my kind of MD. Enjoy your extended stay in England, ~ Clark

  2. Even though I just got back from dinner, reading this post made me want to make these potatoes. Unfortunately, I don’t have access to the Jersey Royals potatoes. Would Russet’s do, or a more waxy potato like Yukon Gold?

    • Hi Mitch,
      I think Russets might be a good option but they need to be small/medium in size, like the size of a large chicken egg or duck egg. I do love the buttery flavor of Yukon Golds but think the texture may not be fluffy enough. Let me know how it works out.

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