This is the first recipe from local chef Oliver Rowe in our weekly series: ‘Quarantine Cooking’ – flexible dishes where you can add, subtract and adapt almost any of the ingredients you buy locally.
Can’t get your hands on parsley? Finding yourself on an involuntary egg hunt? Don’t fret, Rowe’s recipes are the perfect antidote for shopping list mishaps during lockdown.
‘Roman Road has so many great fruit and veg shops, that it’s not hard to find good seasonal produce,’ Rowe explains.
‘My favourites are Natural Garden and Best Food Centre for fruit and veg, and I like the mix of groceries at Inci too. They’ve got a great range of craft beer at the moment.’
His fresh potato & chicory salad packs an earthy crunch and a salty punch; it’s an ideal lunch for the warmer weather and serves four people as a single dish.
2 heads of chicory
500g small new potatoes
4 small shallots
A small handful of bottled artichokes pieces (2 whole artichokes, cut into wedges)
6 sundried tomatoes
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
8 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 handfuls of parsley
2 tbsp flaked almonds
2 tbsp sunflower seeds
2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
- You can use any potatoes – not just new. Rowe used a mix of sweet potato and new potato, but remember that sweet potatoes need less cooking time. Some old celeriac, swede or turnip as part of the mix would do as well.
- Little gem, cos, radicchio, iceberg and Treviso all work instead of chicory.
- Shallots can be replaced with chives, red onion, or even a good old brown onion.
- The artichokes and the sundried tomatoes can both be omitted if unavailable.
- If you don’t have anchovies, add flaked tinned mackerel or sardines to the dressing before tossing. If you’re vegetarian, just use a handful of rinsed, chopped capers instead or some chopped cornichons.
- Dill or coriander would work instead of parsley, although they would give it a very different slant.
- Almost any nut or seed will do. Pine nuts would also be delicious.
Put the potatoes on to boil in plenty of salted water.
In the meantime, lightly toast the nuts and seeds together in a small frying pan or in the bottom of a saucepan. Tip them into a small bowl to cool and crunch.
Finely dice the shallots, chop the tomatoes roughly and slice the chicory into 1 inch slices. Roughly chop the parsley.
Finely chop the anchovies and then mix in a bowl with the vinegar, oil and a pinch of salt. Taste for seasoning – it should be salty and punchy.
When the potatoes are cooked, drain and cut them in half. While they are still warm, toss them in a salad bowl with the dressing, then add the rest of the ingredients, sprinkle some of the nuts and seeds on top and serve with the rest of the seeds on the side.
Some crumbled feta or goat’s cheese would be a delicious addition too.
Local resident Oliver Rowe is a chef and author who is passionate about local, seasonal and sustainable produce. He trained at Moro before setting up his own restaurant – The Konstam – at The Prince Albert in 2006, which sourced 80% of its ingredients within Greater London.
His book Food for All Seasons explores the way our lives are intertwined with food and encourages readers to engage with the seasons through cooking.
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