Town & Country (UK)
Easter is one of my favourite times of the year. I live in Wales, and the produce around the South West is phenomenal. Everything gets a little more exciting as we see a bit more sunshine. This Jersey Royal recipe is a celebration of the arrival of spring. The potatoes will have just come out, along with wild garlic, which is in abundance everywhere. At our restaurant Root, we used to serve a lot of fish and meat, but increasingly people seem to want a vegetable-based menu – to the point where hispi cabbage with pancetta is the only meat available. It’s all about the produce, and not having to do much to it. Rob Howell is the head chef of Root in Bristol. His book, ‘Root: Small Vegetable Plates, A Little Meat on the Side’ (£26, Bloomsbury Absolute), is published on 18 March.
JERSEY ROYALS WITH PEAS, WILD GARLIC AND CRÈME FRAÎCHE
Serves four INGREDIENTS
1kg Jersey Royal potatoes
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs each of thyme and mint
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tbsp cooking oil
2 shallots, diced 200g fresh peas
25g unsalted butter 2 tbsp chives, chopped
2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped
2 handfuls of wild garlic
4 tbsp crème fraîche
FOR THE PEA PURÉE
50ml rapeseed oil
1 shallot, sliced
1 garlic clove, sliced
600ml vegetable stock
375g frozen peas
Place with enough the potatoes cold in water a large to just saucepan cover them. Add the bay leaves, thyme and mint, the crushed garlic and salt. Place the pan over a medium heat and bring to a low simmer. Cook the potatoes gently for 20–25 minutes, until just tender. 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 two to three minutes, until softened. Add the stock and bring to the boil. Add the peas and season again with salt and this time pepper, too. Take 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 little by little until you have a smooth purée.
If you want an extra-smooth consistency, pass the purée through a sieve. Check the seasoning and cool as quickly as possible (transfer it to a bowl, and set it inside a larger bowl filled with ice before placing in the fridge). Chill until needed.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the shallots and fry for 30 seconds, then add the 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 crème fraîche.