The Daily Spud

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Spud Sunday: The Spud Collector

It is a simple fact of life that people see potatoey things and think of me. A quote here, a picture there. A recipe, an article, a song, a poem, or perhaps an unusual bag of crisps. If it is in any way even vaguely potato-related then there is every chance that it will get sent my way (and bring it on I say, just as you can never have too many potatoes, you can never have too many potatoey things).

Potato recipe booklets

Latest acquisitions by the Daily Spud Collection:
old school recipe booklets

Case in point: this pair of recipe booklets very kindly sent to me by Caítríona at Wholesome Ireland. Both are probably around 20 or so years old, published in their day by An Bord Glas (the Horticultural Development Board, which has since morphed into An Bord Bia) and by the National Dairy Council. The healthy recipes booklet is dated, if by nothing else, then by its fondness for polyunsaturated everything, and also demonstrates that food styling has come a long way. The dairy council booklet, on the other hand, features (unsurprisingly) a rather large quantity of cheese. There is always something worth trying, though, and the recipe below is one that caught my eye.

Potatoes a la Grecque

Potatoes a la Grecque

One of the more unusual recipes in the old Bord Glas ‘Healthy Eating With Potatoes’ booklet was one glorying in the title of ‘Potato a la Grecque,’ and you’ll find a very slightly adapted version of same below. As for how authentically Greek a recipe this is, I have no idea. Any references to similarly titled recipes on the web (and there aren’t that many) seem to feature potatoes roasted with olive oil, lemon and Mediterranean herbs, whereas this consists of just-cooked potatoes covered with a wine-based marinade. I wasn’t entirely sure how to place this recipe – it’s somewhere between a cold soup and a salad – but the flavours have a definite Mediterranean feel, if not specifically Greek, and it seems to me that it would bring a little bit of sunshine to any plate.

You’ll need:

  • 1kg potatoes, preferably a floury variety
  • 275ml dry white wine
  • 275ml water
  • 4 tblsp olive oil
  • juice of a lemon (about 3-4 tblsp)
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tblsp coriander seeds, roughly crushed
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • sprig of fresh thyme
  • 0.5 tsp salt or more to taste
  • 1 tsp honey or more to taste (optional)
  • 5-6 tblsp chopped parsley

You’ll also need:

  • A small saucepan for the marinade

The Steps:

  • Scrub the potatoes and, cutting any larger ones in half so that you have roughly even-sized pieces, boil or steam until just fork tender.
  • Meanwhile, in a small saucepan combine the wine, water, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, coriander seeds, peppercorns, bay leaves, thyme and salt. Place over a medium heat, bring to a simmer, then turn the heat to low and simmer gently for 15 minutes.
  • Taste the marinade and more salt if you think it needs it and/or a little honey if it seems too sharp.
  • When the potatoes are cooked, drain, peel and cut into 2-3cm chunks. Return to the saucepan or to a large bowl and pour over the marinade. Cover, allow to cool and garnish with parsley before serving, either while still a little warm or at room temperature, as part of a salad plate or perhaps with some white fish, and with some crusty bread to mop up the marinade.

The Variations:

  • I could picture myself adding some olives to this or perhaps some capers and maybe some chopped fresh coriander.

The Results:

  • Serves around 6-8 as a side dish

6 Comments

  1. Dear Daily Spud, was this recipe delivered in a large wooden replica of a Spud? If so “beware of Greeks bearing potatoes”. Here’s hoping the coriander is the only thing being chopped,
    Cheers,
    Brian.

  2. Daily Spud

    Sunday, July 8, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    What’s that Brian, you suspect that it might have been a Trojan Spud? Perish(able) the thought! I will be on the lookout for trapdoors in my wooden spuds from now on :D

  3. I’m glad you like them!
    It’s the first time I’ve heard of spuds being prepared this way too. Myself & Mam had a little giggle over the booklets as back in the day (and you’re right they are about 20 years old)they were in her arsenal of healthy eating promotional material. She used this stash as a volunteer for the Irish Heart Foundation.
    Truthfully I’ve got copies myself and they are a good reference point.
    Enjoy!

  4. Daily Spud

    Sunday, July 8, 2012 at 6:12 pm

    Thanks again for sending them on Caítríona and they are a good reference point – just because recipes are 20+ years old and may seem a bit dated doesn’t mean that they’re not worth a look! The recipe above is definitely a case in point, not a style of preparation I’d particularly used before and fun to give it a whirl.

  5. Love finding old recipe books, i have waaaay too many!

  6. Daily Spud

    Wednesday, July 25, 2012 at 9:00 am

    I have too many recipe books too Leigh, but I still love collecting ’em!

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