You can’t beat a really good potato salad. Not the kind supermarket versions slathered in mayonnaise that make you feel sickly after a helping, but this fresh delicious kind bursting with punchy flavours and with some cooked ham thrown in for a meaty and filling addition.
I made this dish for a picnic a few weekends ago for my house-mate and I when we were still experiencing the Irish heatwave. Luckily there is a really nice park just around the corner from my house so with the rug, dishes and food in a bag, off we trotted to the local park for a sunny light lunch. My potato salad was made with garlic, onions, capers, lemon zest and ham and really could be eaten as a meal in itself, as well as I side.
This is really quick, and the ham makes it filling and substantial enough as a main dish. I used leftovers for lunch in work on Monday, and some more leftovers the following night in a kind of a spanish omlette/ tortilla.
1 kg of baby potatoes
1-2 cups of roughly torn cooked ham
4 cloves garlic crushed
2 red onions finely minced
1 small bunch of chives chopped
1 large cup of caper berries
Zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup rapeseed oil (or other mild tasting oil)
In a big salted pot of boiling water add your potatoes and cook for 20 minutes or until cooked through.
Meanwhile add the garlic, onion and all the oil to a large pan and stir on a medium-low heat for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are done. You want this soft and translucent, but not golden and crispy.
When the potatoes are cooked slice them length ways and stir into the pan (make sure the heat is off at this point) coating in the garlic and onion oil.
Finely chop the caper berries (reserve a few whole ones for serving) and stir into the mix along with the lemon zest and a generous seasoning of sea salt.
Serve in a dish with the remaining whole capers decorated on top with some more lemon zest.
I have been using the freezing weather as an excuse to cook more hearty meals when I come home in the evening and decided to revamp the classic potato gratin. Usually it comes as a side, but I wanted to make it a main. I used layers of sweet potato, rainbow carrots (yes you can get purple, white & yellow carrots… it was news to me too), a mix of leek, smoked bacon & béchamel sauce, and finally topped it with a layer of mixed sweet potato and rooster potato. It was glorious, so colourful and packed with flavour! It makes a great main as you’ve got your meat and vegetables all in one.
I would definitely recommend making this, there is something comforting about a nice potato-y meal, hot from the casserole dish that reminds me of coming home from school when I was younger. Rather than making one large gratin (this recipe serves 6), I made two small gratins and froze one for a quick dinner the week after. You can get adventurous with this and use other root vegetables; celeriac would be nice and has great flavour. All veggies used are seasonal. Give it a go and let me know what you think!
Ingredients For Gratin:
1 Large or 2 Medium Sweet Potatoes Finely Sliced
1 Large Rooster Potato Finely Sliced
4-5 Rainbow Carrots (Or normal carrots) Finely Sliced
2 Leeks Finely Sliced
1 Onion Finely Chopped
2 Cloves Garlic Crushed
1 Packet Chopped Smoked Streaky Bacon (I used Gubbeen… love the stuff!)
Salt & Pepper
Chopped Parsley (Optional, use whatever herbs you prefer!)
Handful Grated Parmesan
750ml Whole Milk
50g Plain/Cream Flour
70g Grated Parmesan Cheese
Make sauce by mixing all ingredients except cheese, when sauce thickens turn off heat, add cheese & continue to stir. Season well with salt & cracked black pepper. Set aside.
Heat large frying pan, add tbsp oil, add garlic then add onion & leek. When leek starts to soften (after 3 mins or so) push leek to side of frying pan and add bacon. When bacon starts to cook, stir all together and add parsley. Add 1/3 of béchamel sauce and stir well. Turn off heat under the frying pan.
Start layering your casserole dish. First apply a layer of sweet potato to the dish. Then add layer off your leek mix. Add layer of carrot. Add another layer of leek. Add final layer of rooster & sweet potato. Cover with remaining béchamel sauce & cover with casserole lid or tinfoil.
Put in preheated oven at 190C for 40mins (or until cooked through, use knife to test), then take off lid, add grated cheese & allow to brown and crisp for a further 10 mins (Reduce heat to 170C).
Enjoy with a side salad, I added some balsamic vinegar to mine. Simple!