In early 1400, ‘The Pedlar of Swaffham’ (a Norfolk man) found gold under his own apple tree. So plentiful was his wealth that he rebuilt the north aisle and tower of the local church. 600 years later, another Norfolk man, William Gribbon, has also found gold with Norfolk Peer potatoes – not under an apple tree, but in his fields all around Swaffham.
In the summer of 2010, William Gribbon, was out walking with his family, picking vegetables for Sunday lunch. His family enjoyed the fresh, new potatoes with such enthusiasm that William decided he wanted everyone to understand the difference and enjoy the very best fresh produce. Out of these initial thoughts Norfolk Peer was born.
Norfolk Peer new potatoes are seasonal produce and grown for a harvest period from June until September, so make the most of the time left and treat yourself.
One of my North Norfolk culinary heroes is Galton Blackiston from Morston Hall and he put together a great potato salad idea which I have recreated on several occasions adding additional ingredients until I ended up with this recipe. A twist on the original potato salad includes the use of samphire, a coastal vegetable and pancetta which provides a natural seasoning and a great textural depth.
This recipe will serve 6
200g of samphire
500g of Norfolk Peer new potatoes
2 shallots, very finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, very finely sliced
175g of smoked pancetta cut into small cubes
125g of broad beans
1 heaped tablespoon of unsalted butter
The zest and juice of ½ an unwaxed lemon
1/2 teaspoon of mixed dried herbs
1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon of mild grain mustard
A pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper for seasoning
1 sprig of fresh mint
1 tablespoon of olive oil for frying
6 large organic free range eggs
1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar
Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Wash the samphire and then blanch in the water for 30 seconds, refresh in ice water and drain.
Place the new potatoes in a large pan and cover with cold water. Add the lemon juice and a sprig of mint and place over a high heat. Bring to the boil and cook for 10-15 minutes or until the potatoes are slightly tender, drain and set aside to cool.
Heat a large frying pan over a medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add the olive oil and then the shallots and garlic.
Turn the heat down and fry gently until the shallots and garlic take on a little colour. Add the pancetta and fry until the it starts to caramelise.
Cut the potatoes into halves and add to the pan and fry until lightly coloured. Finally, add the samphire, lemon zest, mixed herbs, paprika, grain mustard and broad beans and fry for a further 2 minutes. Season with a pinch of sea salt and pepper to taste and keep warm.
Bring a large pan of water to the boil. Add a tablespoon of white wine vinegar to the boiling water.
Crack the 6 eggs into 6 small cups. One by one, drop the eggs into the water. Poach for around 3 minutes.
Remove the eggs from the pan using a slotted spoon and carefully drain on kitchen paper.
To serve, divide the new potatoes, pancetta, broad beans and samphire into 6 serving bowls, place a piece of butter somewhere on the potatoes in each bowl. Finish with a poached egg served on top with a small friend of black pepper on each egg.