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Spud Sunday: New Spuds On The Block

I have doubts on sprouts
But peas they please
And parsnips give me pleasure.
But of all the veg
I give this pledge
Potatoes are my treasure.

Extract from “King Spud” © 2010 Nick Balmforth

Mr. Balmforth, author of those lines, is clearly a man after my own heart – a heart that fairly swells with pride when my little potato treasures start to blossom, signalling to the world that new potatoes are not far behind.

Potato flower, salad blue

The sign that says new spuds are a comin'

At the head of my new potato posse are a few mavericks – the offspring of stray spuds that have lingered long enough to produce roots and shoots of their own. Having had a head start on the seeds planted this year, the next generation of last year’s Shetland Blacks and Colleens are all ready for me to meet and eat.

new potatoes

First new potatoes of the year, Shetland Black and Colleen

And when presented with a crop of small, firm new potatoes, it is the most natural thing in the world to want to turn them into potato salad.

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Potato Salad with Feta Cheese

Potato Salad With Feta Cheese

When it comes to making potato salad, the possibilities are, of course, endless. If, however, you had just made feta cheese for the first time, then into that potato salad the feta cheese would go. (There will be a full report on the feta cheese making in due course, though I hasten to add that making your own feta cheese is not a requirement for this!)

If you don’t have small, new potatoes, you can really use any waxy potato here – just halve or quarter larger potatoes before boiling so that you end up with roughly even-sized pieces.

The recipe also calls for roasting a head of garlic, with around 6 cloves of roasted garlic used in the dressing – if you roast more than than that, you can always just eat the leftover cloves of roasted garlic as is or spread them on toast.

You’ll need:
  • 1 small head garlic
  • olive oil for roasting garlic
  • 75g walnut halves
  • 800g new potatoes
  • salt for boiling the potatoes
  • 8-10cm sprig of rosemary
  • 3 tblsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1.5 tblsp lemon juice
  • Zest of half a lemon (about 2 tsp zest)
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 150g feta cheese, crumbled
  • 4 spring onions, finely sliced
  • 4 tblsp mint, finely chopped
  • 4 tblsp flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
The Steps:
  • Preheat the oven to 200C
  • Separate 2 cloves from the head of garlic and reserve. Remove the outer layer of papery skin from the rest of the head and slice off the top, just to expose the cloves. Wrap the head of garlic in foil and pour a tsp or two of olive oil over the exposed cloves. Roast for around 35 minutes or until the cloves are completely soft. Meanwhile, prepare the walnuts and potatoes:
  • Spread the walnuts on a baking tray and place in your hot oven for around 5 minutes or so, until lightly toasted (they will burn easily, so keep an eye on them). Remove, allow to cool a little and chop roughly.
  • Scrub the potatoes and peel and lightly crush the 2 reserved cloves of garlic. Bring about 1.5l of water to the boil in a saucepan, add about 2 tsp salt, a sprig of rosemary, the pieces of crushed garlic and the potatoes. Bring back to the boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer gently, covered, for around 15-20 minutes or until just fork-tender.
  • When the potatoes are done, drain well and return them to the saucepan. Let them sit, covered by a tea-towel, for 5-10 minutes or until cool enough to handle.
  • To make the dressing, whisk together the extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, dijon mustard and black pepper. Mash about 6 cloves of the roasted garlic and mix with the dressing.
  • Roughly chop the still-warm potatoes into bite-sized chunks and toss with the dressing. Add the crumbled feta, spring onions, walnuts, mint and parsley and stir to mix. Taste and add more of whatever you think it may need.
  • Eat.
The Variations:
  • If I’d had kalamata olives, I would have added some. You could also add capers if you like.
The Results:
  • Potato salad servings for around 4.


  1. valentina

    Is Shetland black a heritage variety? what is the texture like? I have not seen it yet. Wow!And am I right to think that you grow them in your own garden?

  2. Reeni

    What beauties you grew! And such a creative potato salad! Feta + walnuts = completely delicious!

  3. OysterCulture

    This salad sounds just yummy! I love feta with just about anything, but with the fresh herbs and walnuts too, you got me thinking summer here.

  4. Daily Spud

    valentina: Yep, Shetland Black is a heritage variety. They tend to be small with purple skin, whitish flesh with a little ring of purple inside. When they mature, they have a floury texture, with thick-ish, chewy skin – I like them best baked or roasted. You may see Shetland Blacks sold by Waitrose in the UK and yes, I do grow them in my own garden :)

    Reeni: Hey there, great to hear from you! It’s lovely to be able to pick little beauties like that from the soil – I’d happily eat them just with a little butter, but also very more-ish with the feta and walnuts…

    OysterCulture: yep, it says summer alright – I brought this along to a BBQ at a friends house over the weekend and it went down a treat :)

  5. Sarah, Maison Cupcake

    I’m really tickled by the joy you get by these little flowers, I love how they’re triggering all this excitement! Do we get a Beaujolais Nouveau type new spud event to look forward to? First spuds bussed over to London reported on the telly?

  6. Tangled Noodle

    Hooray for budding spuds! The Shetland Black is a handsome fellow among all those pretty Colleens. 8-)

    I can not wait for your feta-making post: if it is even remotely within my ability, I would love to give it a try. Otherwise, your potato and feta salad is perfect, especially as any creamy texture relies on something other than mayonnaise (don’t get me wrong – I love the stuff but can overdose during summer side-dish season!)

  7. Sophie

    A stunning potato & feta summer’s salad this is!

    Georgous & so many lovely flavours in here!

  8. Stacey & Tash

    We are always looking for new potato salad recipes- can’t wait to try this one, looks and sounds delish.

  9. Jeanne @ CookSister!

    Oooh, love the Shetland potatoes! And never realised that the potato flowers were so pretty. I am definitely adding nuts and feta to my next potato salad :)

  10. Phyllis

    What a beautiful crop of potatoes! My mouth is watering at the thought of your roasted garlic and feta potato salad. I can’t wait to make this! Do you think sundried tomato would be a nice addition to this salad? The combination of garlic, feta and sundried tomato is one of my favorites.

  11. Keith

    NOthing is better than the humble new Irish spud and a lump of butter; its right up there with a new England boiled dinner for my lizard brain. Eating my own weight in them though causes problems, not the least the Norwegian fisherman who feels that I must die for him to feel existentially validated.. What do the Vikings know about new pops though eh?!
    The Feta doth tickle my belly (can i still call it a belly or has Europe redefined a more standard anatomical name? Inquiring gastropods need to know…). another mouth-watering contribution to the noosphere!!

  12. Daily Spud

    Sarah: Oh wow, I love the idea of Beaujolais Nouveau type event for new spuds – such a thing does not exist that I know of, but it should! Maybe I should start by bussing some of my own crop over to London – just make sure you have the ol’ red carpet at the ready for the arrival, lol

    Tangled Noodle: Ah, they can be a ruggedly handsome bunch, those spuds :) And I know what you mean about overdosing on the combination of spuds and mayo – it’s always good to have a few alternative dressings handy.

    Sophie: thank you – thought you would like this one :)

    Stacey & Tash: hello ladies and glad to provide you with some new potato salad ideas – we can probably all do with a few of those!

    Jeanne: Yep, potato flowers can be quite pretty, delicate things – not what you necessarily associate with earthy, clay covered spuds!

    Phyllis: oh I think sundried tomato would be a very nice addition here – will have to add some in myself next time!

    Keith: greetings my good man – I am entirely in agreement re: the combination of Irish spud and lump of butter, nothing better indeed (and Vikings bedamned!); re: belly, if there is a more EU-acceptable term, then I am not aware of it, and shudder to think what an EU committee would come up with if asked for one!

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