Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Pommes Raleigh

Sir Walter Raleigh is credited with the introduction of the potato to England, which after an initially slow start was soon to become the nation’s favourite carbohydrate, if not vegetable. 

On Raleigh’s expeditions to Guiana, now Venezuela, he noted the fruit trees along the Caribbean coast[1], which would certainly have included the indigenous coconut palms, along with citrus trees introduced by the Spanish [2]. 

This recipe takes its ingredients from Raleigh’s voyages – garlic and coriander from Trinidad, ginger, from a Puerto Rican cargo captured by Raleigh’s cousin, along with coconut milk, lime, chilies and spring onions from Guiana - all tumbled together with gloriously crunchy coconut roast potatoes.

Serves: 4
Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour

For the potatoes:
1 x 400ml tin coconut milk
1kg Maris Piper potatoes, peeled
1 teaspoon sea salt
60g unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive/vegetable oil

For the black beans:
1 x 400g tin black beans, drained and rinsed 2 spring onions, finely sliced ½ cloves garlic, minced ½ teaspoon sea salt To serve: 1 teaspoon sea salt 15g coriander, roughly chopped ½ red chilli, finely sliced 2 spring onions, finely sliced

For the coconut dressing:
1 lime, zest and juice
2 inches ginger, finely grated
½ red chilli, finely grated
15g coriander, leaves and stems finely chopped
1 teaspoon sea salt

1.    Reserve 50g of the thick coconut cream from the top of the coconut milk tin, and set aside for the dressing. Tip the remaining coconut milk along with 400ml water into a saucepan, stir, and bring to the boil.

2.    Halve the peeled potatoes, then cut each half into thirds for large potatoes, and into halves if small. Add the potatoes to the saucepan with the coconut milk, return the pan to the boil, and cook for 10 minutes until just par-boiled.

3.    Drain the potatoes well (reserve the coconut milk for another recipe), then shake them gently in the pan to fluff up the edges. Transfer the potatoes to a wire rack to cool down for 15 minutes.

4.    Preheat the oven to 180C fan/200C. Put the butter and oil into a roasting tin, then transfer to the oven to heat through for 5 minutes, until the butter is melted and bubbling.

5.    Put the roasting tin on a very low heat on the stovetop, then carefully add the potatoes, turning them so each is covered on all sides with the hot butter. Scatter with a pinch of sea salt, then return the tin to the oven and let the potatoes roast for 1 hour.

6.    Meanwhile, mix the reserved coconut cream with the lime zest, juice, ginger, chili, coriander and salt. Taste and adjust the lime juice, salt and chilli as needed.

7.    In a separate bowl, mix the drained black beans with the spring onions, garlic and sea salt, and set aside.

8.    Once the potatoes are golden brown and crisp, add the sea salt and give the tin a good shake. Scatter over the marinated black beans, coriander, chilli and spring onions, and serve with the coconut lime dressing alongside. As good by itself as it is alongside roast chicken.

Note: Guiana, now Venezuela, is home to one of the hottest chillies in the world, the Habanero. This recipe calls for an ordinary red supermarket chilli, but you can experiment with finely chopped scotch bonnet in the sauce, palate permitting.

[1] Oxford Companion to Food 3rd Edition p.850

[2] Citrus Cultivation in Venezuela, Tree and Forestry Science and Biotechnology 2009 Global Science Books

Recipe designed by food stylist and writer Rukmini Iyer. 

Rukmini is a food stylist and food writer. She left the law to retrain as a chef, working for Tom Kitchin at 'The Kitchin' in Edinburgh before moving to London to do what she loves best - food styling, recipe writing and development. When she's not styling and writing, Rukmini enjoys planning for an extensive organic kitchen garden from the confines of her London balcony, complete with chickens.

Rukmini's recently published cookbooks include The Roasting Tin: Simple One Dish Dinners 
The Middle Eastern Kitchen: Authentic Dishes from the Middle East  


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