Alhambra Saffron-infused ‘Cracked’ Roast Potatoes with Andalusían Queen Olives and Lemon

This recipe is inspired by a glorious spring evening in Granada in the heart of Andalusía, a mesmerisingly beautiful and exotic city that I hold deep in my heart. I love the Moorish architecture with its stones still warm from the sun, the streets shaded by old orange trees their boughs heavy with fruit and the culinary richness of a land that will forever be touched by the exotic legacy of the Moors. One of the heroes of this recipe is saffron which they introduced to Spain during their long Medieval dominion. At that time, rare and expensive, the spice quickly rose to celebrity status amongst those that could afford it and today, with every bite of their Sunday paella, Spanish families are quietly paying homage to the ancient Moorish kingdom of Al-Ándalus one of the greatest civilisations that Iberia has ever known. Just a pinch transforms a meal like a magical spell as its floral scent, fiery colour and exotic flavour transform even the most ordinary of ingredients into something of great beauty.

Serves 6

Ingredients

1.5 kg new potatoes
A generous pinch of Spanish ‘La Mancha’ saffron
Extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt flakes and freshly ground mixed peppercorns
Jar Andalusían pitted queen olives, drained
1 lemon, juiced
Fresh dill or flat leaf parsley, to serve

How I make it

Place the potatoes in a large pan and cover with cold water. Add plenty of salt and the saffron and place over a high heat. Cover and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat and cook for 15 minutes. Drain and set aside to steam dry for 10 minutes.

Heat an oven to 180C.

Tumble the potatoes into a large roasting tin, space each one generously apart and slightly crush them with a potato masher to increase their surface area. Drizzle with olive oil. Season generously and roast for 15 minutes.

Add the olives to the tin and roast for a further 10-15 mins until crisp and golden brown. Finish with the lemon juice, the herbs and a scattering of sea salt flakes.

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