THERE'S nothing like eating seasonal produce to make you feel you're in tune with Mother Nature, and the Jersey Royal is a good place to start.
These tasty little potatoes, in season from April to the end of June, are celebrated for their unique nutty flavour.
While purists believe they should be boiled and served with butter and mint, there are plenty of other ways to incorporate them into your cooking.
Richard Allen, executive head chef of the Michelin-starred Tassili restaurant in Jersey, is a big fan and has experimented with everything from Bombay potatoes and wedges to runny potatoes mousseline and little jacket potatoes. He's even made them into crisps to use as canapes.
He says: "Most people use the smaller ones early on in the season but I find them a bit metallic so I wait for the ware potatoes to come, which are slightly larger and have a milder taste.
"People like you to stay classic and just boil them. They think you can't do anything else with them but I find that you can."
Here are some royally good recipes to get you started...
500g Jersey Royal new potatoes
100g creme fraiche
1tsp creamed horseradish
Juice of 1 lemon
2 spring onions, finely sliced
2 hot smoked salmon fillets, skinned and flaked
1 bunch watercress, rinsed
Bring a pan of water to the boil. Add the potatoes and reduce the heat to a simmer and cook the potatoes for about 15 minutes or until tender.
Mix together the creme fraiche and creamed horseradish. Add enough lemon juice and black pepper to taste.
Drain the potatoes and leave to cool slightly. Add the spring onions and salmon. Stir in the creme fraiche mix until all the ingredients have a light coating.
Toss in the watercress and serve, ether slightly warm or cold.
Tip: If you can't find hot smoked salmon use smoked mackerel, smoked salmon or even roast beef
500g Jersey Royals, scrubbed and halved
125g shredded Savoy cabbage
2 carrots, peeled and cubed
1tbsp frying oil
½ medium onion, finely chopped
3tbsp chives or parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Lightly seasoned plain flour for coating
200g shredded ham hock
4 farm fresh eggs
2tsp white wine vinegar
Bring a pan of water to the boil. Add the potatoes and reduce the heat to a simmer and cook the potatoes for about 10 minutes. When just cooked, drain and lightly crush.
Cook the carrots in boiling water for five minutes, add the cabbage and cook for a further four minutes. Drain and add to the potatoes
Heat the oil in a pan and add the onion. Cook over a low heat until softened but not coloured. Combine the onion, potatoes, cabbage, carrot and herbs in a large bowl and mix well. Season the mixture with salt and pepper.
Spoon the mixture into chef rings or shape the mixture into four cakes and toss them in the flour to coat. Heat about 1cm of oil in the pan and fry the cakes for about 4 minutes on each side, or until slightly browned and holding together.
Meanwhile bring another pan of water up to simmering point add the vinegar and carefully break in the eggs and simmer for three minutes. Remove and keep warm.
To serve, top each bubble and squeak cake with a pile of ham hock and top with a poached egg.
Tips: The ham hock can easily be replaced with crispy bacon.
When making poached eggs make sure you use the freshest eggs possible. If you have a number of eggs to poach cook the eggs in advance and pop into iced water. When ready to serve just drop into boiling water to heat up.
800g Jersey Royal new potatoes, scrubbed
8tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
½ lemon, juice only
1 lemon, zest only
2tbsp coarsely chopped flat leaf parsley
4 skinless chicken breasts
150g cream cheese
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1tbsp chopped fresh parsley and chives
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 rashers back bacon, sliced
1tbsp olive oil
2 small leeks, washed and finely sliced
150ml white wine
284ml carton double cream
Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan oven 160°C, gas 4.
Heat a non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat. Make a cut lengthways along the side of the chicken breast.
Mix the cream cheese with the garlic and herbs and season. Spoon the herby cheese into the pocket in the side of the chicken breasts. Wrap the bacon around the chicken, stretching the bacon slightly. Make sure the bacon joint is underneath the chicken.
Put the chicken in an ovenproof dish and bake for 35 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the sauce. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the leek and cook until the leeks start to colour. Add the white wine, bring to the boil and boil to reduce by half. Add the cream and cook gently for another 4-5 minutes. Season to taste.
For the potatoes: bring a pan of water to the boil. Add the potatoes and reduce the heat to a simmer and cook the potatoes for about 15 minutes or until tender. Drain and crush with a fork or potato masher – you just want to break them up, not mash them – and add all the lemon juice and zest, parsley and olive oil. Season and fork everything through.
Serve the sliced chicken alongside the lemon potatoes and green beans and asparagus.
Tip: Add lightly fried chestnut mushrooms to the sauce, if you like.
For the schnitzel:
4 medium slices of mild cheddar cheese
100g flour for dusting
4 whole eggs (beaten)
8 slices of bread (crust off and made into breadcrumbs)
Olive oil for frying
For the salad:
6 pieces asparagus, cut at a 45 degree angle
2 medium carrots cut into thin slices
1 red pepper cut into fine strips
1 medium red onion cut into wedges and separated
500g Jersey Royals boiled in salted boiling water
300g baby beetroot, boiled
Salt and pepper for seasoning
To make the schnitzel, cut the cheese into 0.5cm thick slices and dip it in the egg, flour and breadcrumbs.
In a pan shallow fry the cheese, turning only once with a spatula. When nice and golden brown remove carefully and place on absorbent paper.
For the salad, place the beetroot in cold water and bring to boil and simmer until it is cooked to your liking (about 30 minutes).
In a separate pan do the same with the Jersey Royals (about 20 minutes).
Blanch the asparagus and carrot strips in boiling salted water (about three minutes).
Toss all the salad ingredients together with a knob of butter and season with salt and pepper to your liking.
Serve the schnitzel and the salad together.
Serves two as a starter
Six medium Jersey Royals
One egg yolk
100ml double cream
Salt and pepper to taste
Lemon juice to taste
1/3 bunch chopped chives
20 small rocket leaves
100g blue cheese
Olive oil for drizzling
Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan oven 160°C/Gas 4.
Sprinkle the Jersey Royals with sea salt and cook in the oven until tender when pricked with a knife (about 30 minutes).
Once baked, cut a 6mm deep cross in the top of the warm Jersey Royals and open slightly.
Drizzle the Jersey Royals with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Fold the cream, lemon juice, blue cheese, chives and egg yolk in a bowl.
Spoon a little of the mixture into each of the Jersey Royals and place under a hot grill until golden.