Cooking From Cookbooks is a series where I showcase innovative plant-based recipes from my favorite cookbooks. This gorgeous recipe for smashed new potatoes with peas comes from Yotam Ottolenghi’s latest book, Simple.
Yotam Ottolenghi’s Simple was my favorite cookbook of 2018. Even before putting my hands on it, I was immediately drawn to the book because of the gorgeous cover, which features a wide-angle photo of a table set for a casual dinner party.
This is what I imagine Ottolenghi’s everyday life to be – a rolling montage of festive gatherings with beautiful food and friends laughing around the table. Who doesn’t want to be a part of that?
The Israeli-born, London-based chef’s brand of food really speaks to me because it’s vegetable-forward, colorful, and very thoughtful. It’s fussy, and I like that. Take these smashed new potatoes with peas, for instance. The recipe includes preserved lemon, fresh lemon juice, and zest – that’s three variations of lemon flavor right there!
And as for the peas, the recipe calls for pureeing two-thirds of them and leaving the rest whole. That way, the final dish features two textures of pea. The pureed peas get into all the little nooks of the smashed potatoes while the whole peas add a textural contrast, and create a fun popping sensation in your mouth with each bite.
I have so many recipes dogeared in this book and can’t wait to cook them all.
On to these potatoes. In general, I’m a sucker for potato salads (it’s the Ukrainian in me). I’m excited to have these smashed new potatoes from Simple in my potato salad arsenal because the color is just fabulous and screams “Spring!”. (Even though it’s still snowing as I write this in Syracuse).
About Preserved Lemons
I’m extra excited about this recipe because it forced me to try a new ingredient: preserved lemons (an Ottolenghi favorite). Preserved lemons are whole lemons pickled in brine. They’re salty, tangy, and give off a bright floral aroma, so they’re quite different from fresh lemons.
If they’re new to you too, I encourage you to try them because they’re a great little flavor booster for grain salads, stews, pastas, sauces, and much more.
How to Use Preserved Lemons
Be sure to rinse your preserved lemon before adding it to a dish to get rid of excess salt. Next, cut the lemon into quarters, scrape out the flesh, and discard it – it has a mealy texture and overpowering flavor. The real prize is the preserved lemon rind. Once you have the rind isolated, either thinly slice or mince it and use as desired.
Check out these other salad recipes…
- Panzanella Salad with Tomatoes, Avocado and White Beans
- Massaged Kale Salad with Tahini Dressing and Crispy Chickpeas
- Shredded Carrot Salad with Coriander and Dill
- Arugula-Radicchio Salad with Roasted Delicata Squash
This gorgeous recipe for smashed new potatoes with peas is slightly adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi’s latest book, Simple (Ten Speed Press, 2018).
- Fine sea salt
- 1 1/2 pounds new potatoes, scrubbed (See Note #1)
- 2 1/2 cups peas, fresh or frozen
- 1 preserved lemon (See Note #2)
- 3/4 cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped, plus extra for garnishing
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest (from about 1/2 lemon)
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (from about 1/2 lemon)
- 1 medium garlic clove, roughly chopped
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Bring two pots of water to a boil: a large one and a medium one.
- Generously salt the large pot of boiling water and add the potatoes. Cook for about 15 minutes, or until soft.
- Meanwhile, add the peas to the medium pot of boiling water and cook for 1 minute. Immediately drain into a colander and run the peas under cold water. Add two-thirds of the peas to a food processor and set the rest aside.
- Rinse the preserved lemon. Cut it into quarters, scrape out the flesh, and discard it. Slice the rind and add it to the food processor with the peas.
- To the food processor, add the cilantro, oil, lemon zest and juice, garlic, rounded 1/4 teaspoon salt, and lots of black pepper. Pulse to form a rough paste.
- Drain the potatoes and place in a large bowl. Lightly crush them with a potato masher. Add the pea-cilantro mixture and the whole peas and toss to combine. Taste and adjust the seasonings if needed. Garnish with cilantro and serve warm.
- The potatoes should be about 1-inch in diameter. If yours are bigger, halve or quarter them before cooking.
- Preserved lemon adds a perfume-y aroma to the dish. They’re typically sold in a jar in the international foods aisle of the supermarket. But if you can’t find them, just add more fresh lemon zest and juice than called for.
- Serving Size: 1/6 of the recipe
- Calories: 212
- Fiber: 6.4 g
- Protein: 5.3 g