Many years ago, not long after Rick Stein opened in Padstow in 1975, The Seafood Restaurant started winning awards. In those days I was a restaurant critic and I think it was the AA Restaurant Guide who on one occasion flew me down to Newquay to interview Rick over lunch. Somewhere I have a photo of us but there are two things I particularly remember about the visit: the potatoes and that Rick had just bought a Porsche (maroon and bulbous) and insisted on driving me back to Newquay for my flight home. I left clutching a bag of Cornish Earlies and I’m very happy to say they are now widely available outside Cornwall. They are possibly my favourite new potatoes and unique in that they are harvested while the leaves are still green above the ground. Their flavour is consistently intense, the skin soft and fluffy and the texture creamy and akin to continental waxy varieties like La Ratte and Cornichon, Belle de Fontenay and Jersey Royals. I’m working my way through a few pounds of Maris peer Earlies grown just above Porthleven and not far from the family home in Mousehole. The rich potato flavour really adds to this salad but other new potatoes will be good and peppery rocket instead of flat leaf parsley would work well. To make this simple recipe for more people, just increase all the ingredients in proportion.
Prep: 20 min
Cook: 15 min
350g small new potatoes
1 large or 2 small smoked mackerel fillets
1 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp creamed horseradish
handful flat leaf parsley leaves
Scrape, rinse and boil the potatoes in salted water. Drain and leave to cool. Next make the dressing. Spoon the mayo into a mixing bowl, beat in the lemon juice followed by the olive oil and then the creamed horseradish. Stir the warm potatoes into the dressing. Flake the fish over the top, flaking into bite-size, chunky pieces taking great care to remove any stray bones. Season lavishly with black pepper and use a spatula to mix the salad, turning rather than stirring. Chop the parsley and add it to the salad. Turn into a serving bowl or onto plates.