This week saw our first new potatoes from a January-sown crop in the polytunnel. It’s one of my favourite harvesting moments of the entire year. You don’t want to do anything fancy with the first harvest of new potatoes – a sprig of mint in the sauce pan when boiling them and then lots of good Irish butter and Bob’s your uncle. It’s a tradition in our house that I eat so many on the first sitting that I get a pain.
For the second, third and subsequent harvests it’s time to get creative and keep the delicious spuds centre stage. This classic tortilla recipe from The Natural Cook (Tom Hunt) does exactly that. Serve as a generous lunch or light dinner with a salad of peppery green leaves. Serves 4.
Cut any large potatoes in half so all the pieces are roughly the same size. Bring to the boil in a saucepan of salted water, then reduce the heat and simmer for 8-10 minutes, until just soft.
Drain and cool, then dry, cut into cubes and fry in a good glug of the oil over a medium-high heat for 10 minutes. Keep turning to ensure a good all-round, golden, crisp skin. When ready, sprinkle with paprika and salt and set aside. Slowly saute the onions for 15-20 minutes in light olive oil until they are very soft. Add the garlic and fry for another 2 minutes. Add the onions to the potatoes and allow the whole lot to cool. Now add the eggs and mix, crushing the potatoes a little as you do so. Season with salt and pepper.
Heat a deep 15-20cm frying pan with a good splash of the oil. When it begins to smoke, pour in the egg mixture. Reduce the heat to its lowest and cook for 4-5 minutes, shaking the pan from side to side to prevent it from sticking. When it is cooked halfway through, it is ready to turn. Flip the tortilla on to a large plate. Return the pan to the heat and slide the tortilla back into the pan, raw-side down. Shake from side to side again to make sure it isn’t stuck. Using a wooden spoon, tuck the rough edges underneath to make them rounded, then cook for a further 5 minutes. Slide on to a plate and allow to cool.