Citrus and spice: Yotam Ottolenghi's potato salad recipes (2024)

The starting point for most of my recipes are the vegetables that are in season. Truth be told, there are one or two vegetables that make me wonder how many more ways they can be seen in a new light (not that I don’t adore it, but sorry, asparagus), but not the potato. What some call the “humble” spud, I think of as the most versatile, ever-surprising and flexible of vegetables. This comes not only from how different one variety is from the next – from waxy to floury, nutty to creamy, dry to buttery, and so on – but also from how much can be done with each type of potato itself. Even zooming in on one world, as I do today with potato salad, merely opens new worlds of possibility, texture and flavour.

Nepalese potato salad (pictured top)

Everyone who loves potato salad thinks their version is the best, so thanks to Chaya’s friend Neha for sharing her favourite Nepalese version, which celebrates tangy tamarind and fresh coriander, and letting my team play around with it. If possible, do start off with tamarind from a block, because homemade puree is so much more balanced (tangy, but less acidic) than many ready-made ones. This works really well as a standalone dish, served with some yoghurt, but it also goes with simply grilled meat, fish and even aubergine.

Prep 10 min
Cook 30 min
Serves 4

For the chilli pickle
4 green chillies (35g), thinly sliced on an angle
3 tbsp cider vinegar
¼ tsp caster sugar

For the potatoes
1kg large desiree potatoes, peeled, cut into quarters lengthways, then each quarter cut in half widthways
200g ghee
1 large onion
(330g), peeled and thinly sliced
7g curry leaves (about 5 stems)
7 garlic cloves (40g), peeled and thinly sliced
80g coriander, 2½-3 tbsp (10g) leaves picked and kept aside to garnish, the rest roughly chopped

For the spice mix
1 tbsp black mustard seeds
1 tsp nigella seeds
80g sesame seeds
, plus 20g extra, toasted, to serve
1 tsp ground turmeric
80g tamarind from a block
, soaked in 100ml boiling water and sieved to collect about 120g puree

In a small, non-reactive bowl, mix the chillies with the vinegar, a quarter-teaspoon of salt and the sugar, and set aside to pickle (if you like, do this up to a day ahead).

Put two and a half litres of water and three tablespoons of salt in a large saucepan and set on a high heat. Bring to a boil, add the potatoes and cook for 20 minutes, until tender but not broken down, then drain.

Meanwhile, melt the ghee in a large saute pan on a medium-high heat, then add the onion, curry leaves, garlic and chopped coriander, and fry, stirring regularly, for 15 minutes, until the onions are soft and starting lightly to caramelise.

In the small bowl of a food processor or mortar, coarsely grind the mustard, nigella and sesame seeds, add to the onion pan with the turmeric and fry for a minute. Stir in the tamarind paste, take the pan off the heat, then gently stir in the potatoes until well coated in the spiced onion mixture and set aside for five minutes to absorb the flavours.

Transfer the potatoes to a large platter, or individual plates, scatter the pickled chillies, toasted sesame seeds and reserved coriander on top and serve warm or at room temperature.

Potato salad with charred tomato and orange salsa

Citrus and spice: Yotam Ottolenghi's potato salad recipes (1)

The salsa with these potatoes is inspired by sikil p’ak, a Mayan paste made from toasted pumpkin seeds, charred tomatoes and chillies, orange and cumin. Any excess pumpkin seeds will keep in an airtight jar for two weeks.

Prep 15 min
Cook 40 min
Serves 2

800g baby new potatoes, unpeeled and cut into 2cm pieces
2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra to serve
2 tsp lime juice
3 spring onions
, trimmed and finely sliced (40g)

For the spicy, sticky seeds
100g pumpkin seeds
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tbsp maple syrup

For the charred salsa
500g datterini or cherry tomatoes
3 large red chillies
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp orange zest
3 tbsp orange juice
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp maple syrup

Heat the oven to 180C (160C fan)/350F/gas 4. Mix all the ingredients for the seeds with a quarter-teaspoon of salt, spread out on a tray lined with greaseproof paper and bake, stirring every now and again, for 16 minutes, until well toasted and caramelised. Remove and set aside to cool.

Turn the oven to the highest grill setting. Put the tomatoes and chillies on a medium tray, grill near the top of the oven for 16 minutes, until nicely blackened in places, then remove and set aside to cool. Turn off the grill for now.

Put the potatoes in a large saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Add plenty of salt, turn down the heat to medium and simmer for about eight minutes, until the potatoes are cooked through but not falling apart. Drain well, then return the potatoes to the pan and add the oil, lime juice and an eighth of a teaspoon of salt.

Roughly chop the charred chillies (remove and discard the seeds and pith, if you prefer less heat) and tomatoes to a salsa consistency, then tip into a bowl and stir in all the remaining salsa ingredients and a half-teaspoon of salt.

Turn the oven to the highest grill setting. Add half the salsa to the potato pan and stir to combine. Tip the other half on to an oven tray, spread out and grill for eight minutes, until it starts to brown on top.

To serve, tip out the potatoes on to a platter and spoon the grilled salsa on top. Scatter over the spring onions and some of the pumpkin seeds (you won’t need them all, so keep any leftovers for snacking on), finish with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt, and serve warm.

Citrus and spice: Yotam Ottolenghi's potato salad recipes (2024)


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