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We Irish love our potatoes and these new season “babies” with their fine papery skin and perfect petit size are top of the podium for me.  Served with a drizzle of olive oil or fried on the pan with spring onions, or my personal favourite – sea salt, a dusting of crushed peppercorn and lashings of melted butter. You‘ll definitely pack away a few of these when you get started!

Forget stodgy mayonnaise, these baby potatoes deserve better – when it comes to salads  a good  glug of the best extra virgin olive oil that you can source wins hands down for me. I purchase mine from the lovely ‘Lino’ at my local farmers market in Leopardstown. Check out Azienda Agricola “Colletta”. After the oil dressing, start creating your own combinations – think flavour, texture, colour! The salty capers in this salad give it a really good punch and you already know “potatoes love bacon”. Peppery watercress completes this dish, along with the little quail eggs dotted through the salad like jewels of sunshine.

As communion season is upon us, I plan to share with you  over the next few weeks some funky, tasty and speedy salads, using  only the best of seasonal ingredients. Let’s celebrate spring and its abundance of goodness and, with summer on it’s way, let salads take centre stage.

Serves 2-4

Ingredients 

  • 10-12 new baby potatoes, cut in half if large
  • 2 slices bacon, finely diced (organic or free-range if possible)
  • 15 grams parsley
  • 1 heaped teaspoon capers
  • Small handful of watercress, land cress or rocket etc
  • 6-8 quail eggs (or 2 hen eggs), organic if possible
  • 2 tablespoons garlic oil
  • Seasoning

Garlic Oil

  • Heat 200 ml good quality olive oil in a small saucepan along with 2 whole garlic cloves, bring to simmer then remove from heat. After cooling, pour into a small glass jar, including the garlic. Store in a cool place for 2-3 weeks – use as a dressing over vegetable dishes, salads etc.
  • Dairy Free

  • Diabetic Friendly
  • Gluten Free

  • Vegetarian: Omit bacon and quail eggs

  • Vegan: Omit bacon and quail eggs

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Method

  1. Make garlic oil as per instructions.
  2. Place the potatoes in saucepan, cover with boiling water and add salt. Cook for about 15-25 minutes until tender, then drain, toss onto kitchen paper to remove excess liquid and set aside.
  3. Fry bacon lightly until lightly golden, transfer to kitchen paper.
  4. Finely chop parsley and roughly chop capers.
  5. Place quail eggs in a pan of boiling water. Cook for 2.5 minutes, then transfer to a bowl of iced water to stop cooking process – also makes them easier to peel.
  6. Place drained potatoes in a large mixing bowl, add garlic oil, bacon, parsley, capers and leaves. Season and gently toss together, then transfer to serving platter.
  7. Finally, peel quail eggs and cut in half, then dot them over the potatoes. Finish with an extra drizzle of garlic oil and serve.

Maggie's Tips

  • Good served warm or at room temperature.
  • Vary quails eggs: use hen or duck eggs
  • Great served as part of a buffet spread, a side dish on a summer evening and equally lovely in your lunch box.
  • Never eat straight from the fridge as you won’t get to appreciate this salads true flavours.
  • For vegetarian or vegan: omit bacon and quail eggs. Instead add petit pois, courgette noodles, cooked baby beetroot etc.