From tzatziki to turmeric: 3 easy recipes that give potatoes an upgrade

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Looking for a way to serve potatoes that’s a little bit out of the ordinary? Try one of Claire Thomson’s deliciously different recipes. 

When it comes to potatoes, sometimes all you need – or want – to do is keep it simple. A side of  Jersey Royals tossed in French butter, or a mountain of crisp roasties scattered with sea salt, can come close to culinary perfection. Not to mention the hungover-at-work lunch of champions: a giant jacket potato slathered with cheese and beans. And the joy that a bowl of perfectly-cooked fries can bring.

But if you’re feeling bored with all of the above, why not try expanding your potato-y horizons? Below, you’ll find three original yet easy potato recipes by Claire Thomson, taken from her new book Home Cookery Year

Thomson shows how the world’s favourite root vegetable can be made genuinely exciting with the help of layered, complex flavour combinations – from a potato bake with tomatoes, courgettes, dill and sour cream to a modern potato salad with turmeric, green olives, preserved lemon and capers. Serve as a tasty lunch or as an elegant side dish in a larger spread. 

  • Baked tomatoes, courgettes & potato with dill & sour cream

    You’ll want to use the ripest, most delicious ingredients and season them well. Eat the results warm or at room temperature for the flavours to really meld and sing.

    Serves 4

    Ingredients

    • 600g courgettes, cut into 5mm slices
    • 600g small, waxy new potatoes (such as Charlotte), peeled and cut 5mm slices
    • 500g ripe tomatoes, cut into 5mm slices (or use 2 x 400g cans of plum tomatoes, drained)
    • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
    • 4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
    • small bunch of dill, stalks and leaves separated, both roughly chopped
    • 100ml good olive oil
    • 1 tsp chilli flakes, or more to taste
    • salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • sour cream, to serve

    Method

    Preheat the oven to 190°C/170°C fan/375°F/Gas Mark 5.

    Arrange all the vegetables in a large ovenproof dish, layering them evenly, distributing the garlic, dill stalks and a good amount of salt and pepper as you do.

    Add 150ml of water and top with the olive oil. Cover with foil and bake in the oven for 45 minutes, then remove the foil and increase the heat to 210°C/190°C fan/415°F/Gas Mark 6–7. Cook until all the vegetables are completely tender and the uppermost vegetables are beginning to colour and crisp in places.

    Remove from the oven and leave to settle for at least 15 minutes before adding the chopped dill leaves and the chilli flakes and serving with the sour cream.

  • New potatoes cooked in lemon, olive oil & coriander seeds with tzatziki & feta

    Cooking the potatoes in lots of lemon juice and good olive oil makes for the kind of potatoes people dream about, really. Add lots of cracked coriander seeds, as well as herbs (of course) and spring onions, and you’re on track for the finest potatoes ever cooked. Gilding the lily? Never. Spoon on some tzatziki and add a blizzard of snowy feta. Top 10 potato dishes of all time.

    Serves 4

    Ingredients

    For the potatoes:

    • 800g small, waxy new potatoes (such as Charlotte), halved
    • zest and juice of 2 unwaxed lemons
    • 4 tbsp good olive oil
    • 3 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
    • 2 tsp dried oregano
    • 1 tbsp coriander seeds, roughly cracked
    • ½ small bunch of dill, finely chopped
    • small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, leaves roughly chopped
    • ½ bunch of spring onions, thinly sliced
    • salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 150g feta cheese, crumbled, to serve

    For the tzatziki:

    • ½ cucumber, peeled, deseeded and coarsely grated
    • 300ml plain or Greek yogurt
    • juice of ½ lemon
    • ½ clove of garlic, crushed
    • salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Method

    Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/400°F/Gas Mark 6. Place the potatoes in a single layer in a baking dish.

    Pour over the lemon juice, olive oil and 80ml of cold water. Stir in the garlic, oregano and coriander seeds, then season to taste with salt and pepper and toss together well to coat.

    Cover the dish with foil and bake for 25 minutes, then remove the foil carefully and gently turn the potatoes over in the dish. Return to the oven uncovered and cook for a further 10–15 minutes, until tender and cooked through.

    While the potatoes are cooking, squeeze as much moisture from the grated cucumber as possible. Mix it in a bowl with the yogurt, lemon juice and garlic, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

    Remove the potatoes from the oven and stir through the dill, parsley and spring onions and check the seasoning.

    To serve, pile the warm potatoes onto a serving plate, scraping up all the pan juices, herbs and coriander seeds, then spoon over the tzatziki and add the crumbled feta to serve.

  • New potatoes with turmeric, green olives, preserved lemon & capers

    Turmeric is an astonishing ingredient. It brings a gorgeous bitterness, earthy pungency and an arresting colour. Use new-season, small, waxy potatoes for this salad with the turmeric turning the potato flesh incandescent. 

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, preserved lemons (capers, too) are a boon for the storecupboard: intense in flavour, they bring a deeply salty, fragrant burst, and I would not be without them in my cooking at home. This salad is good on its own or served alongside some grilled fish, chicken or even halloumi cheese.

    Ingredients

    • 600g new potatoes, scrubbed clean, skin on
    • 4 tbsp good olive oil
    • 1 bunch of spring onions, trimmed and thinly sliced, green and white parts separated
    • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
    • 1 tsp ground turmeric
    • ½ preserved lemon, flesh finely chopped
    • 100g green olives, pitted and finely chopped
    • 1 tbsp capers, salted and rinsed, or pickled (as you like)
    • 1 small bunch of coriander (cilantro), leaves picked and roughly chopped
    • juice of 1 lemon
    • salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Method

    Cook the potatoes in plenty of well-salted boiling water for 15–20 minutes, until tender. Drain and cut into wedges.

    While the potatoes are cooking, heat half the oil in a cast-iron frying pan over a moderate heat and gently fry the white of the spring onions, the garlic and the turmeric for 2 minutes, until the onion and garlic are softened.

    Thoroughly mix together the potatoes and cooked onion mixture with the remaining ingredients and serve at room temperature, adding salt and pepper to taste.

    Home Cookery Year: Four Seasons, Over 200 Recipes for All Possible Occasions by Claire Thomson (£30, Quadrille) is out now

Photography: Sam Folan

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