I’ve had an utterly joyful Easter weekend full of foraging, Easter egg hunts, BBQs and enjoying the first few meals from the garden. Along with home made burgers (good mince with a reasonable fat content, finely chopped fried onion and good bacon, tomato puree, Balsalmic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, chilli, Maldon salt and pepper, all mixed together, formed into patties and left in the fridge for an hour or so to help them keep their shape) I also made a variation of my favourite potato salad dish.
Smoked Trout on Potato Salad with Microgreens
Handful of microgreens (try sorrel, chive, radish, spinach, spring onion or any baby leaf)
Chop the potatoes up, or leave them whole if you opt for the amazingly sweet Red Rooster, which are best cooked skin on and peeled/chopped once cooked. If you have your own home grown potatoes, so much the better. Bring the water to the boil – even though it goes against conventional wisdom to put potatoes into boiling water, it makes the outsides of cut potatoes fluffier meaning the mayonaisse mix clings more effectively – and boil potatoes.
Drain the potatoes, rinse under cold water then fluff them up by shaking the pan. Leave to cool slightly, then add the mayonaisse, mustard (I like to use a mix of wholegrain and dijon, but if you prefer more kick, use English mustard) and horseradish sauce (which goes brilliantly with smoked fish). Stir thoroughly and leave to cool to near room-temperature. Add the microgreens (ripped rather than chopped so that you don’t bruise them) and stir through. Sorrel is lemony, while radish tops and rocket are peppery so it’s a great contrast to the fish*.
Pile the potato salad onto a plate (if you’re serving it as a posh starter, put a round pastry-cutter on the plate and fill that with potato salad then remove so you have a perfect circle of potato salad). Flake the smoked trout over the top, or just break it into two pieves and balance on top of the potato salad. Garnish with chopped egg and more microgreens. Alternatively, just flake the trout into the potato salad, add the chopped egg and mix throughly as a great side-dish for a BBQ.
NB: I haven’t specified amounts because it depends on how many people you’re serving, and it’s easy to judge by eye.
I also made Dandelion syrup (of which more later). Even though making it was a bit of a faff (pics to follow) there was something rather magical about shopping from the hedgerows, so I was inspired to delve a little deeper into the world of foraging. I found a recipe for Fiddlehead Ferns with Smoked Bacon and Garlic and was intrigued by the idea. Eating ferns? Apparently, it’s a fairly common thing in the US and Australia, and the fern tips taste of asparagus (the picture above is of Fernhead Salad).
You can also grow your own ferns to eat. I’ve always loved the way that ferns look – there’s something primeval about them, and it’s all too easy to imagine dinosaurs lurking behind giant ferns in woods (or maybe that’s just me). There are lots of poisonous ferns so make sure you stick to Ostrich Ferns or Cinnamon Ferns unless you’re a fern aficionado. Have you tasted ferns? If so, I’d love to know what you think.
* Later in the season, I use Nasturtium leaves in potato salad for a delicious peppery edge but they’re barely seedlings so far as I planted them outside. Nasturtiums hate being moved, and last year my thriving seedlings turned into sulking wilty plants even though I hardened them off, so I decided I’d rather wait longer for them and grow them directly in the garden instead this year.