• Royal Potato Salad

    potatopotato3Well, if it’s “Royal” it has to be good. And it is. Very. But we do smirk at the name of the recipe. It comes from Yotam Ottolenghi’s (YO) cookbook “Plenty“. If you are unfamiliar with “YO” he is the hottest vegetarian cookbook author of the moment (he isn’t a vegetarian, but he’s rolling- we jokingly call him “the vegetable whisperer”.) And if you sense a bit of intense jealousy suspicion, you are might be right. But good food is good food, and this recipe is a winner. We aren’t proud, if a dish tastes good, we will make it. Often, if the kids like it.

    potato5potato4And many of the recipes in the cookbook are true winners. There are also some recipes that require way, WAY, too much work for what you might get- but for the most part we are big fans. And YO does know his flavors. But, like many restaurant chefs, YO will ask you to do work that simply isn’t worth it, but looks/sounds good at the time. Chefs do that sometimes. Chefs are not home cooks, and they just can’t help themselves.

    potato6potato7In this case YO asks you to make a very tasty potato salad with a bright pesto sauce and peas, but then adds halved, soft-boiled quail eggs. We like quail eggs, and used them in the recipe, but you can’t tell us that quartered hard-boiled chicken eggs wouldn’t work just as well (maybe better). And after you try to peel a dozen quail eggs, you might agree. But maybe that is what makes the recipe “royal”….whatever. (Actually it is named after Jersey Royal potatoes…but why let the facts get in the way of some good snark?)

    potato9potato10As for the rest of the recipe, this is the good stuff. Boiled waxy potatoes with a herbaceous, not too garlicky pesto, peas and soft-boiled eggs is a lovely dish. We did adapt the recipe for more herbs, particularly parsley, in the pesto. But this is where you can play around to fit your tastes. But what you get is a mix of bright, earthy, sweet, herbal and umami flavors along with soft and slightly crunchy textures. If this sounds like a restaurant-quality dish, that’s because it is. We have come to accept that YO is truly a “vegetable whisperer”.

    potato11potato13potato14potato15Royal Potato Salad:

    (Adapted from “Plenty” by Yotam Ottolenghi)

    Notes Before You Start:

    You need “waxy” new potato varieties, or Yukon Golds in a pinch. Russets will not work here, as they will fall apart.

    You can play with the proportions of parsley and basil in this recipe. If your basil is fresh and flavorful, lead with it. Otherwise go with more parsley, it makes for very good pesto.


    (serves 4-6)

    • 10 quail eggs or 4 chicken eggs
    • 1 cup frozen peas
    • 2 pounds new or “waxy” potatoes
    • 3/4 cup basil leaves
    • 3/4 cup Italian parsley (plus more for garnish)
    • 1/3 cup pine nuts
    • 1/2 cup, about 2 oz. grated parmesan cheese
    • 1 clove garlic, lightly crushed
    • 1 cup olive oil
    • Dash of vinegar
    • 1 bunch (handful) mint leaves, shredded
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

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