As soon as I spotted this new potato salad with fennel and radish in the most recent edition of Bon Appetit I was in love. I am obsessed with fennel and radish as a salad and this recipe sounded so interesting with many layers of flavour. It comes from Kismet in LA and is featured in the magazine’s RSVP section – the part where readers write in requesting their favourite restaurant dish.
The recipe is typical of a chefs recipe in that aromatics are added to the liquid the potatoes cook in which is probably something we wouldn’t do as home cooks, but I like this next level. The dressing is packed with so much spicy deliciousness, making a refreshing change from the ubiquitous mayonnaise laden potato salads. They have used Aleppo style pepper which sadly I have not seen in South Africa (we tend to be a bit behind the times) and I would have loved to try it because it has less heat than other chilli powders. I’m seeing it crop up all over the place by mainstream food writers and I’m going to have to bring some in from London ASAP. I have read that you can substitute this with a combination of smoked paprika and chilli flakes to get something similar so that is what I did. I have kept things mild with only a teaspoon of chilli flakes because I don’t like my food to take my head off.
I also adjusted the quantity of oil in the recipe down. They use ½ cup which is too much in my opinion for the quantity of 750gs / 1 ½ lb potatoes. I also only used 700gms as that is the pack size for my fave new potatoes here, the Mediterranean variety from Woolies. These are hands down the best-tasting potatoes in South Africa and I won’t use anything else.
Because of my fennel obsession, I also used a large bulb instead of a small one and upped the quantity of radish to around 10 smallish ones. I wanted a lot of fresh crunchy texture. The fried mustard seeds are genius here and add a stunning element to the salad. All round I have to say that despite loving new potatoes with crème fraiche, mint and lemon, this is now my new top potato salad and I will be putting this on repeat. It also suits my lower GI eating regime as new potatoes have a lower GI than regular potatoes so I can have 3- 4 in a portion. #winning. Also, if you are vegan then this one is for you.
Don’t be put off what seems like a long and complicated recipe, it all goes very quickly and you make the fennel and dressing part while the spuds are cooking. This is essentially 2 incredible salads rolled into one, and you are going to thank me later.
Recipe – adapted from Bon Appetit
This recipe will serve 4
For the potatoes
700gm new potatoes or fingerling potatoes
6 garlic cloves, crushed with the side of a knife (no need to peel)
zest of one lemon – cut in strips with a vegetable peeler
1/3 cup salt
1 Tbsp coriander seeds
2 tsp black peppercorns
Dressing for the potatoes
1 tsp chilli flakes
2 tsp smoked paprika (or 4 tsp Aleppo style pepper – no chilli then)
1 – 2 garlic cloves, grated
¼ cup Extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp finely grated lemon zest
1 Tbsp lemon juice
For the fennel & radish salad
1 large fennel bulb fennel sliced on a mandolin or in a food processor
Small bunch radishes (about 10) finely sliced on a mandolin
1 Tbsp black mustard seeds
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp lemon zest
Fennel sprigs, roughly chopped for serving
Wrap the coriander seeds and peppercorns in a muslin cloth and tie with string. Put this in a pot with about 8 cups (1 litre) of water and bring this to the boil. Add the salt, lemon zest and crushed garlic. Once boiling, add the potatoes and cook for 11 – 13 minutes until knife tender. Drain and set aside to cool slightly.
While the potatoes are cooking add all the potato dressing ingredients together in a medium / large bowl and whisk to combine.
Slice the fennel and radish and set aside in another bowl. Heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a small pan and fry the mustard seeds until they start to pop vigorously. Immediately drain the oil in a fine sieve and set the seeds aside to cool. Check seasoning and add a little salt if it needs.
When the potatoes are cooled (they can be a little warm), slice them in half and toss lightly in the dressing in the bowl to coat. If they are a bit bigger, cut them into 3 thick slices. Keep them aside until you are ready to plate.
Dress the fennel salad just before you plate up and serve, it can wilt quite quickly. Add the mustard oil, mustard seeds, lemon juice and zest and toss to coat.
Serve on a large plate or platter with the potatoes on the bottom and the fennel salad piled on top.
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