The arrival of Jersey Royal potatoes is a joyous moment in the food calendar that deserves a bit of celebration. These little kidney-shaped potatoes start to appear in greengrocers, markets and supermarkets from the end of March and are available until July, with May considered the peak of the season.
Jersey Royal potatoes have a distinctive flavour that is slightly nutty, earthy and sweet, and, with their firm but creamy texture, they are a real treat. They need only very gentle cooking, and are at their best simply steamed and served with a small knob of salted butter as a quick potato salad, barbecue side or a summery accompaniment for roasts or grilled fish.
How to prepare and cook Jersey Royals
Serves 6 to 8, as a side
Wash 1kg of Jersey royal potatoes under cold running water to remove the earth (be very gentle, as the skins are fragile) until you’re left with creamy potatoes with delicate flakes of skin remaining. Place them in a large pan of salted water and bring to the boil, adding a couple of sprigs of fresh mint, if you like. Cook for 15 minutes, then drain and allow to steam dry. Top with a small knob of salted butter and serve.
Check out our four easy ways to mix up your Jersey Royal potatoes so you can make the most of their short season.
Make a homemade mayonnaise by simply whisking 1 free-range egg yolk in a bowl. Whisk in 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard, then gradually add 125ml of mild olive oil (or 50/50 olive oil and rapeseed oil), whisking continuously for 3 to 5 minutes, or until thickened. Whisk in ½ tablespoon of white wine vinegar, then drizzle in 125ml oil, whisking continuously, until you have a creamy mayonnaise consistency. Season with a pinch of sea salt and a squeeze of lemon juice. Fold half of the mayonnaise through the warm potatoes (spoon the rest into a sealable jar and keep in the fridge for another day). Deseed 1 fresh red chilli and finely slice with 3 spring onions, then sprinkle over the creamy potatoes. Dust with a little smoked paprika and serve.
For a herby potato salad, finely slice ½ a red onion and mix with 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar in a small bowl, then set aside to pickle for 5 to 10 minutes. Toss the warm potatoes in 150ml natural yoghurt, then finely chop ½ a bunch of soft herbs (15g; dill, mint, parsley or chives all work well) and scatter over the top. Add the pickled onions to the potatoes, juice and all, and mix together, then season to perfection and serve.
Make a salsa verde by mixing 30g of soft herbs, such as mint, parsley and basil, then finely chop with 1 tablespoon of capers, 4 cornichons and 6 anchovies. Mix together 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard, 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar and 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil in a bowl and stir in the herbs. Season to taste, then add the warm potatoes and gently toss together, crushing the potatoes slightly so the flavours can infuse.
For roasted Jersey Royals, preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/gas 5. Cook the potatoes for just 5 minutes, then drain and leave to air dry. Once dry, tip into a large roasting tray and toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Break up a whole bulb of garlic into separate cloves and crush with the side of a knife, and toss into the tray. Pick in the leaves from ½ a bunch of fresh rosemary (15g) and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes, or until crispy and golden.
Hungry for more? Click here for more delicious ways to celebrate Jersey Royal potatoes.