Arran Victory Spuds with Saffron Aoili

April 9, 2010

The spuds we are eating (way too much of) at the moment are called Arran Victory.  These knobbly, purple creatures may look a bit strange but they have  suburb flavour and texture (velvet is what always comes to mind when I’m eating them).Quite floury, they make exceptional mash and are pretty fab baked too. Violent boiling doesn’t go down well with these guys and they tend to break up. Try steaming instead. Or, as I suggested last week,  parboil them then toss in olive oil and a generous pinch of Maldon Salt  followed by 30-40 minutes in the oven. Heaven!!!! The only drawback with this variety is peeling – they are quite small so there’s lots involved. My solution? Don’t bother. Unless you’re making mash there’s no need.

During the week I made a saffron aioli which proved a perfect partner. Aioli is nothing more than mayonnaise made with garlic and this time of the year garlic is milder and more delicate  because it’s new so it’s lovely for this kind of sauce. The saffron adds a great twist and of course its amazing colour.

 I used to get very nervous about making mayonaise until someone showed me how to make it with a handblender. You put the egg,  garlic and a glug of oil into the goblet (if you’ve lost this as I have managed to do in the past, a pint glass will work just as well) turn on the blender hold it steady for about a minute until you start to see the egg and oil emulsifying i.e. the mayonnaise forming. You then begin adding the rest of the oil and slowly moving the blender up and down. And that’s about it. It’s really easy. At the very end you add the dissolved saffron strands and watch everything turn that gorgeous colour. Today we are having a bowl of Arran Victorys with some steamed french beans and a bowl of saffron aoili for lunch. Really simple but very special. And we’ll be eating in the garden!!!

Saffron Aioli

You’ll need:

1 large egg

About 150 ml light olive oil – don’t waste your fancy extra virgin on this. It doesn’t need it and makes things too heavy.

1/2 – 1 head fresh garlic minced – quantity depends on how garlicy you like things. I would use nearly the whole thing but it’s up to you.

A pinch of salt

A generous pinch saffron threads

Begin by dissolving the saffron in a few tablespoons of hottish water. This will take about 10 minutes so get it going a few minutes before you start everything else. After 10 minutes, put about a third of the oil, the egg, salt and garlic in your goblet . Blend the lot for about a minute then begin adding the rest of the oil in a steady stream. You want an aioli not quite as thick as a Hellmans so stop adding oil when you get to that stage. Finish by adding the dissolved saffron and its water. If the threads haven’t fully dissolved don’t worry.

This will keep for a day or two in the fridge but be sure you don’t leave it lying around in a warm kitchen or garden (if the weather forecast is anything to go by!!!).

Enjoy the weekend,



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