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Potato & Coriander Pesto Salad with Pickled Quail Eggs
Lord of the Rings, the Two Towers. The hobbits are struggling. Gollum is too – mind slipping, taunting, testing. They set up camp for the night. Or has dawn broken? It’s been a long, draining journey. And just like that, in the midst of the climbing, the agonizing, the nightmares of golden rings and crushing responsibility and the hairy feet, a moment as pure and lucid as a lavender soap bubble. Etched in my memory. The conversation turns to potatoes.
Sam: What we need is a few good taters. Gollum: What’s taters, precious? What’s taters, eh? Sam: *Po-tay-toes!* Boil ‘em, mash ‘em, stick ‘em in a stew… Lovely big golden chips with a nice piece of fried fish.
[Gollum makes a noise of disgust while sticking his tongue out] Sam: Even you couldn’t say no to that. Gollum: Oh yes we could. Spoilin’ nice fish. Give it to us raw and w-r-r-riggling; you keep nasty chips. Sam: You’re hopeless.
If you must refresh your memory (how can you not remember?), here’s the scene, above.
My very favourite line in the trilogy: *Po-tay-toes!* Boil ‘em, mash ‘em, stick ‘em in a stew.
Speaking of which, lord knows I love potatoes. My favourite vegetable, hands down. But don’t worry, I don’t over do it. Promise.
*With sincere apologies to all J.R.R Tolkien die-hard fans*
The potatoes in this dish, are steamed (or boiled) and dressed in a coriander and pistachio pesto that will blow many a standard tater salad dressing out the water and far away. The dressing is enhanced with the bite of spring onions and the freshness of lemon – both juice and zest. Feel free to use almond or walnuts for the pesto if you don’t have pistachios. Pickled quail eggs make a humble potato salad something you want to serve guests at lunch or at a weekend brunch.
The beauty of this dish is that there are few ingredients needed, many live in your fridge and it’s assembled in minutes.
600 g potatoes, peeled chopped and steamed till soft but holding shape (Baby potatoes would be perfect)
35 g pistachio nuts
15 g coriander, including stems
3 spring onions, chopped roughly
60 ml extra virgin olive oil
1 lemon, zested and juiced
salt, to taste
8 -10 pickled quails eggs, sliced in half
1 spring onion, snipped
with pickled quail eggs & lemon zest
Allow steamed potatoes to cool.
In the meanwhile, bash pistachios lightly in pestle and mortar till broken but not powdered.
In a small bowl, blend coriander, pistachios, the 3 spring onions, lemon juice, salt and olive oil using a stick blender, till smooth.
You may also do this in the pestle and mortar, grinding till it forms a fine paste.
Spoon the dressing over the potatoes and toss to coat.
Mix quail eggs and lemon zest gently though the potatoes and serve with snipped spring onion.