By Elizabeth Gracen:
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Okay, you can see from the first photo that my copy of Jamie at Home is pretty messed up. Which means that I've had it for a while, and it is used often. There was a point in time when I was totally obsessed with Jamie Oliver's television cooking series, Jamie at Home. The first time I saw one of the episodes, I was in Vancouver attending a HIGHLANDER convention. My kid was still quite young, and it was my first trip away from her. It was a terrific event, but as much as I love a good soft hotel bed to myself, I was a little anxious to be away. When Oliver's Jamie at Home came on, it immediately calmed me down, and I was hooked. When I got home, I searched for the series and recorded the episodes and made the recipes. His house in the English countryside of Essex, England, his garden, his outdoor oven, and all the chipped bowls, plates, and crockery in his modest country kitchen gave me comfort. It still gives me much-needed comfort in this crazy world.
The complete series is hard to find online now. Sometimes I find a random episode, but I have finally resorted to purchasing a used DVD of the complete series from Amazon. Like I said: obsessed.
I'm officially adding a new dish to the Favorite Recipes series: Potato Salad—Jamie Oliver Style.
I love a potato in almost any form. My mother always told me to "Eat a baked potato, Elizabeth," when I was stressed or worried. I have no idea why that was her solution to so many problems, but you can't deny that eating one makes the world drop away for just a few minutes as you devour it. Potatoes Anna is always the perfect accompaniment to my husband's favorite dish, Steak au Poivre (we'll get to that recipe soon!), and being a Southern girl, you simply must have mashed potatoes when you prepare a Southern meal. A creamy classic American potato salad is delicious, but I prefer Mr. Oliver's version made with lemon juice, vinegar, and capers. He would say that all the acids give the recipe a real "twang," and I do like a good "twang."
The recipe in Jamie at Home is titled "Potato Salad with Smoked Salmon and Horseradish Créme Fraiche." I think I've made it once by the boo, and it is terrific. However, I make the potato salad often. It is a perfect side for many dishes, the savory "twang" adds a complex but comforting flavor to the overall meal—no matter what it is.
The hardest part of this recipe is gauging just how long to actually cook the potatoes. You don't want them falling apart when you add the other ingredients—it can get messy if you cook them too long. I've made this with various types of potatoes, but the new potato is the sturdiest.
Oh man, now I'm hankering for a potato.
Potato Salad—Jamie Oliver Style
1 1/4 lbs. new potatoes
Lemon—Juice and zest
Red wine vinegar
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Tbsp. capers
Bring a pan of salted water to a boil.
Cut all the potatoes into roughly the same size by cutting the bigger ones in half. Once the water comes to a boil, add the potatoes. Boil for approximately 15–20 minutes until just cooked—don't overcook them, they'll be too mushy.
While the potatoes are boiling, mix half the lemon juice with the zest along with the vinegar in a bowl. Add three times as much olive oil as vinegar to the mixture. Mix well. Add the capers and season with salt and pepper.
Pour the liquid over the potatoes and toss until well-coated.
If you are using the dill, rip off small pieces and sprinkle on top.
Serve warm or bring to room temperature. It is also good cold.
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