One of the things I want to do on this site is write about the cookery books that I love, that inspire me and that I recommend, buy and give to others. So this week WTF is all about cookery books and the best recipes for this time of year from some of my current favourites.
It has always struck me, especially having worked in publishing, that the task of choosing any type of book for a gift or a specific purpose is really really difficult if you’re not in the trade. Whereas I usually go in to a bookshop with a bit of knowledge about what’s available, and which books are good and not-so good, most people walking into somewhere like Waterstone’s Piccadilly must be overwhelmed by the sheer, dizzying weight of possibilities. And as someone who already has 70-odd cookery books I often wonder how another can be justified.
Yet when I find one with a totally unexpected recipe or a new approach, well then I’m singing it to the heavens. Because being inspired all over again is wonderful. Today’s recipe comes from Everyday & Sunday, the new Riverford Farm book by Guy Watson and Jane Baxter (I have to declare an interest: I’m currently freelancing at the publisher’s which is how I knew about it). Their previous book, published three years ago, has the most amazing recipe for twice-cooked pork belly which has become a real favourite. And now Jane Baxter has created a three-step recipe that completely reinvents potato salad by combining potatoes with crab, chilli, parsley and lemon. Not a trace of mayo in sight.
Since 100g of white crab meat costs £4.99 in my local supermarket, this isn’t a recipe that you are going to make for a lot of people, not unless you’re loaded or live near a cheap source of local crab. To put it in context, whereas something like fillet steak is usually around £20-£25 per kilo that 100g of white crab meat is £49.90 per kilo. But luckily you don’t need much and it’s really worth it. Save it for your best friends and the ones that worry about calories (there’s hardly any fat in crab).
Riverford’s New Potatoes with Crab, Chilli, Parsley and Lemon (adapted slightly)
You will need:
1kg new potatoes
150g white crab meat
Juice of 1 lemon (you may need a little more, according to taste)
2 tablespoons chopped parsley (the type of parsley isn’t specified but I used flat-leaf)
1 red chilli, deseeded if you don’t like seeds, and chopped (to avoid getting chilli oil on my hands and then in my eyes, I hold the chilli by its stalk, cut it up with kitchen scissors then snip off the stalk; much better than that stinging feeling)
1. Give the potatoes a bit of a wash if they need it. You don’t need to peel them. Then cook them in boiling, salted water until soft (about 15-20 minutes if whole; less if in smaller pieces). Allow to cool.
2. Mix everything else together then toss the potatoes in the mixture and season to taste. You may need a bit more lemon juice if you like it extra-tangy or lemony.