Taste Scene

Michael Devlin

Don’t mess with the regal

WELCOME BACK… I am compelled to eat Jersey Royals, think about Jersey Royals and, by consequence, write about Jersey Royals.

 

Dear Jersey Royals,

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Welcome back. Oh, how I have missed you.

I have a real compulsion when it comes to these spuds. I am practically obsessed.

Before I wrote the words, ‘Dear Jersey Royals…’ I wondered what I’d be writing about this week. I thought, ‘I can’t do Jersey Royals again, can I?” I considered revisiting the abandoned mayonnaise from last week. I thought about beef stir fry and I really considered pavlova… but no.

I am compelled to eat Jersey Royals, think about Jersey Royals and, by consequence, write about Jersey Royals. You can probably see where this is going… If you’re not a fan of Jersey Royals then look away now.

In all fairness, I have a soft spot for most waxy potatoes but for some reason I find myself waiting for Jersey Royals more than any other.

Maybe it’s because they’re generally the first semi-local waxy spuds harvested in Spring – hence the anticipation – and then the season only lasts for such a short time – hence the feeling of loss when I have to wait another entire year for the next batch.

If you’ve been reading this in previous years, you’ll know I might have mentioned them once or twice in the past. But I can’t help it. It’s almost fanaticism: A shade any deeper and I’d be talking about Jersey Royals tattoos or naming the cat JR.

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I find myself surfing the official Jersey Royals website, www.jerseyroyals.co.uk (sad, I know) looking for titbits, ideas and recipes.

Did you know for example that you’re never supposed to peel Jersey Royals? Nope. You just rub away any loose skin when you’re washing them and that’s all they’ll need. Jersey Royals don’t have the same tough skin as other commoner spuds.

Also, did you know that when boiling Jersey Royals you’re supposed to drop them into boiling water, as opposed to heating the water with the spuds in? Apparently it looks in the flavour, or so the website tells me.

Last week after boiling up a batch I even tasted the boiling water to see if any of the flavour had leaked. This was probably a new low but just in case you were wondering, it wasn’t very palatable.

Honestly, I predict I could eat Jersey Royals every day of the week, during their briefest of seasons.

“Besides being unique to Jersey, Jersey Royals enjoy EU protection of designation of origin in much the same way that France was granted sole use of the word, ‘champagne,” this, according to jerseyroyals.co.uk

It’s one of those trips that I’m probably saving for when I’m retired, or for when the fanaticism deepens. Would going to Jersey for the Jersey

Royals harvest would be step too far? You’re probably right. I’d still go though.

Over the years I’ve tried Jersey Royals a whole heap of ways, baked with cheese, doused in mayo, as an accompaniment to fish.

But I have long since decided the best way is the simplest way: Unadulterated.

If you were so minded there are also some great looking recipes for Jersey Royals on that website but if you managed to wangle an invite to ours for a night during Jersey Royals season and these exceptional potatoes are on the menu, you’ll only have them one of two ways.

Simply boiled, split in half, slathered in butter and well seasoned. Or, if I’m really pushing the boat out, served with bacon (dry-cured and smoked).

When something is as tasty and as distinctive as a Jersey Royal is, you don’t need to mess around with supplementary ingredients. All you need is a nudge and that nudge is something salty.

A friend recently suggested that for maximum effect he’d use that pink Himalayan salt. But as I countered, even a sachet of McDonald’s salt which has been cooking on the dash board of the car for a year or two will be enough of a compliment to a Jersey Royal.

Don’t mess with the regal.

Welcome back.

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