Jersey Royals and wild garlic is a match made in culinary heaven and offers a wealth of delicious recipe pairings for the avid forager
Jersey royals paired with wild garlic is the culinary equivalent of the canine romance in Lady and the Tramp. Jersey royal potatoes have the pedigree – grown on Jersey for over 130 years with no less than a PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) – while wild garlic is the scrappy, foraged food with big flavour.
And like the movie, it’s a marriage that works. Both are in season now and welcome additions to the kitchen and plate. The main crop of Jersey Royals is planted from January through April with harvesting beginning this month and ending in July. They’re grown on over 7,000 acres of land in Jersey and nourished with seaweed from the beaches (known by the locals as Vraic). Jersey Royals have a distinctive thin, flaky skin which only needs a gentle wash (never peel a Jersey).
Wild garlic on the other hand is likely to be found in woodlands, lanes or hedgerows and is recognised by its white flowers and distinctive garlic aroma. It grows throughout the UK (the website Hedgerow-Harvest has a handy map).
Non-foraging city dwellers can often find it at farmer’s markets or at well stocked vegetable markets. Pureed with olive oil and a generous pinch of salt and pepper, it’s lovely over Jersey Royals or drizzled in vegetable soups or on pasta.
What else can you do with wild garlic? Just about anything. Mark Diacono has an ace recipe for ravioli with a wild garlic and ricotta filling in his book A Year at Otter Farm. Served like that, who needs a PDO?
Jersey Royal potatoes with wild garlic and slow cooked tomatoes
The slow cooked tomatoes take some time – about five hours in a low temperature oven – but the result is a lush, jammy tomato packed with flavour. This recipe requires 12 halves but make an entire sheet pan of them. You can store the rest in a clean jar with the tomatoes covered in olive oil. If you can’t be bothered, serve the potatoes with store bought semi-dried tomatoes scattered on top.
12 small-medium Jersey Royal potatoes
1 large handful of wild garlic, about 30g
100ml of olive oil
12 slow cooked tomato halves
salt and pepper
If you’re making the tomatoes, wash a large bunch of plum tomatoes and slice them in half. Make a small v-shaped incision to remove the stem end. Pour a bit of olive oil on a sheet pan and place the tomatoes cut side up. Fit as many tomatoes as you can in a single layer onto the pan. Sprinkle a bit of sea salt on top as well as some caster sugar (this will bring out the sweetness in the tomatoes). Place in a low oven – 125°C – and cook until the tomatoes have shrunk and are semi-dry. They will still be pliable but much darker in colour.
The tomatoes can be made several days in advance.
Rinse the potatoes but do not peel them. Place them in a large pan filled with cold salted water. Bring to a boil and cook for around 10 minutes, until you can insert a knife into a potato.
While the potatoes are cooking, make the wild garlic oil. Rinse the garlic leaves and trim off any stems. Dry thoroughly. Place the leaves in a blender or small bowl of a food processor. While running, pour in the oil. Taste and season generously with salt and pepper.
When the potatoes are cooked, drain and place in a bowl and toss with some of the garlic oil. Place on a serving platter and dot with the tomatoes. Drizzle a bit more oil on top and serve.