We’ve just returned from a brief visit to the beautiful island of Mallorca where the sun was shining and the air was heavy with the scent of orange and lemon blossom, heady wisteria and clouds of tumbling white jasmine. It made my heart sing to be back in the Mediterranean where I had the chance to reignite my imagination, experiment with exciting artisanal products and to meet people who share my passion for vibrant, flavour-packed food. It has long been a dream of mine to be able to walk out into my own modest patio garden filled with citrus trees – are you listening Universe? – so to spend a day quietly wandering through an abundance of them in the beautiful sun-soaked town of Sóller on the mountainous north west side of the island was fabulously enriching. In my opinion, lemons and good quality sea salt are the kings of the kitchen, I literally couldn’t do without them. Generally speaking, I’m a huge fan of Maldon salt but I fell head over heals with Mediterranean sun-dried Flor de Sal d’Es Trenc, an intoxicating natural condiment created via a delicate process in which nothing is added or taken away. It tastes of the sea in its purest form. There are several gentle aromas to choose from including Mediterranean herb, hibiscus petals, rose petals, wild mushrooms, orange & chili and lemon & lavender. For this recipe, I used their olivas negras variety which incorporates finely ground toasted Kalamata olives and sweet Sóller lemons both of which you can buy online from the brilliant Fet a Sóller, a bright initiative that tries to balance economy with the unique ecology of the land.
2kg of large Albert Bartlett Rooster potatoes, peeled and cut into generous chunks
2 tbsp Spanish extra-virgin olive oil
A pinch of good quality saffron
1-2 tbsp of sea salt, according to your taste
1 lemon, juiced
A generous pinch of olivas negras sea salt, for garnishing
How I make it
Heat an oven to 180C.
Place the prepared potatoes and the saffron in a large lidded pan, cover and bring to the boil. Then turn down the heat and leave them to simmer for 10 minutes. Drain through a colander and set aside to steam dry.
Whilst still in the colander, shake the potatoes to roughen up their edges and transfer the them into a large roasting tray, pour over the lemon juice and a generous glug of olive oil. Scatter with sea salt and roast in the oven for 45-60 minutes depending on their size.
When they’re done, garnish with olivas negras sea salt.
These go perfectly with my Lebanese-inspired za’atar-roasted vegetable & halloumi filo pie with dill & lemon zest.