Lemon- and salt-cooked potatoes with saffron aioli

Lemon- and salt-cooked potatoes with saffron aioli

By
From
Citrus
Serves
4
Photographer
Mowie Kay

The idea for this came out of a love of salt-crusted potatoes which I thought could benefit from a bit of extra flavour. The zest and saffron will cling to the salt and therefore also the outside of the potatoes – a good contrast to the creamy aioli.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1kg new, salad or waxy potatoes, preferably quite small, scrubbed but unpeeled
30g flaky sea salt, (Maldon is good, as is the smoked version for a slightly different flavour)
2 lemons, Finely grated zest
1 teaspoon herbes de provence
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns, freshly ground or crushed
1 litre water

For the aioli

Quantity Ingredient
a large pinch saffron strands
1 tablespoon warm water
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
A pinch salt
300ml sunflower oil
1/2 lemon, juiced

Method

  1. Put the potatoes in a large, heavy-based frying pan (I use one with straight, fairly deep sides), making sure they fit in a single layer. Mix the salt with the zest, herbes de Provence and pepper. Add to the potatoes with the water.
  2. Bring the water to the boil and, rather than turn down to simmer, keep boiling until the liquid has evaporated. When all the water has disappeared, turn the heat down low and cook for a few minutes, giving the pan a shake every so often to roll the potatoes over, until they are completely dry and wrinkly with a light coating of flavoured salt.
  3. While they are cooking, make the aioli. Using a pestle and mortar, grind the saffron strands to a powder, spoon the warm water over and set aside to soak. Fold up a tea towel and place it under a bowl – this will keep the bowl steady when you need to whisk and pour at the same time.
  4. Put the crushed garlic in the bowl with the egg yolks, mustard and saffron-infused water. Add the salt, then whisk, using a balloon whisk, until completely combined. Start drizzling in the oil, a drop at a time and whisking all the time until you are confident the mixture has emulsified, then you can add it at a slightly faster rate. Continue until all the oil has been incorporated, then add the lemon juice. Give a final whisk – it will look liquid for a minute but will soon settle back into a thick, creamy mayonnaise.
  5. Serve the potatoes hot from the pan. They should be the perfect combination of zesty, salty crust and sweet flesh; perfect with the aioli.
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