New potatoes are young, small potatoes harvested in late spring and early summer before reaching full maturity. They have thin, delicate skins and a unique sweet, nutty flavor. New potatoes are extremely versatile and can be prepared in countless ways, making them a staple ingredient in many cuisines. Jamie Oliver, a world-renowned British celebrity chef, often incorporates new potatoes into his recipes. In this article, we will explore Jamie Oliver’s tips and methods for cooking new potatoes perfectly every time.
What are new potatoes?
New potatoes are simply young potatoes harvested before they reach full maturity, generally between late April and August. After the potato plant flowers, small potato tubers begin to form. These immature potatoes are dug up while they are still small, with diameters typically between 1 and 3 inches. New potato varieties include red potatoes, white potatoes, yellow potatoes, purple potatoes, and fingerling potatoes. Compared to fully mature potatoes, new potatoes have some key characteristics:
- Thinner, wispier skins that are easily rubbed off
- A waxy, moist texture
- Sweet, mild flavor
- Lower starch content
- Tend to keep their shape during cooking
- More nutrients since they are young and haven’t fully developed
New potatoes are highly perishable and should be used within a couple weeks of harvesting. Their thin skins make them unsuitable for long term storage.
Benefits of new potatoes
New potatoes offer several health and nutritional benefits:
- Higher vitamin and mineral content – Since new potatoes are freshly harvested when young and tender, they retain more vitamins and minerals, particularly vitamin C, potassium and iron.
- More fiber – New potatoes contain nearly twice as much fiber as mature potatoes.
- Lower in starch – The starch content in new potatoes is only about 2-4%, compared to about 15-20% in mature potatoes.
- Lower glycemic index – With less starch, new potatoes don’t lead to spikes in blood sugar levels.
- Creamier texture – The moist, waxy texture of new potatoes makes them perfect for salads, soups and boiling.
In terms of taste, their mild, sweet flavor and delicate skins make new potatoes particularly tasty. The skins are edible, so new potatoes don’t need to be peeled before cooking.
How to choose new potatoes
When shopping for new potatoes, look for potatoes that have thin, papery skins and are relatively small, around 1-3 inches diameter. Avoid potatoes with thick, rough, cracked skins, sprouts, or green patches, as these are signs they may be older. The potatoes should feel firm with no mushy spots or wrinkling. Smaller new potatoes are more tender while larger ones may have a creamier texture when cooked. Popular varieties to look for include:
- Red – Small, round, rosy red skin with white flesh. Moist and waxy.
- White – Smooth, thin white skin with white flesh. Mild tasting.
- Yellow – Golden yellow skin and yellowish flesh. Buttery flavor.
- Purple – Dark purple, blue or red skin with creamy white flesh.
- Fingerling – Finger-shaped and petite. Various skin and flesh colors.
Select new potatoes that are appropriate size for your planned recipe. Keep in mind they can be stored in the refrigerator for 1-2 weeks max.
How to store new potatoes
To extend their shelf life, store new potatoes properly:
- Leave them in a cool, dark place like a pantry for 2-3 days max after purchasing.
- For longer storage, put whole unwashed potatoes in a perforated plastic bag in the refrigerator. They will keep for 1-2 weeks.
- Do not freeze new potatoes. Freezing ruins their delicate texture.
- Keep potatoes away from sunlight to avoid greening of the skins.
- Wash new potatoes just before cooking, not before storing.
Storing new potatoes properly prevents sprouting, mold growth, and mushiness while preserving their flavor and texture.
Preparing new potatoes
New potatoes require very minimal prep before cooking. Follow these tips:
- Gently scrub under cool running water to clean.
- Use a vegetable brush to gently rub off any remaining dirt.
- Trim off any sprouts or green patches on the skin.
- Leave the skin on if your recipe calls for it.
- If peeling, use a vegetable peeler to gently remove the thin skin.
- Leave small potatoes whole. Cut larger potatoes into halves or quarters.
Avoid soaking new potatoes as excess water can make them soggy when cooking. Also, take care not to over-scrub the delicate skins.
Cooking methods for new potatoes
One of the appeals of new potatoes is their versatility. They work well with all kinds of cooking methods. Some top ways to cook new potatoes according to Jamie Oliver include:
Boiling is a quick and easy way to cook new potatoes while preserving their moist, tender texture. Jamie Oliver recommends:
- Place potatoes in a pot and cover with cold, salted water.
- Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes until tender when pierced.
- Drain and serve warm with butter, herbs or other seasonings.
The thin skins on new potatoes don’t need to be peeled before boiling.
Steaming keeps new potatoes extra moist without diluting their flavor. Follow these steps:
- Place a steamer basket in a pot filled with a few inches of water.
- Add whole or halved new potatoes to the basket.
- Cover pot and bring water to a boil. Steam for 15-20 minutes until tender.
- Remove from heat and toss potatoes with olive oil, salt, pepper and herbs.
Steaming helps enhance the bright, crisp texture of new potatoes.
Roasting at a high heat caramelizes the natural sugars in new potatoes, giving them a crispy outside and fluffy center. Here’s how Jamie Oliver roasts new potatoes:
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Cut larger potatoes into 1-2 inch chunks if desired.
- Toss potatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper on a baking sheet.
- Roast for 35-40 minutes, flipping halfway, until crispy and browned.
- Sprinkle with fresh herbs or spices when done.
Roasting brings out the sweet, nutty flavor of new potatoes.
Pan frying or sautéing
Pan frying in a skillet is ideal for getting crispy, browned exterior on halved or quartered new potatoes.
- Heat oil in a skillet over medium high heat.
- Add cut new potatoes flat side down. Pan fry for 3-4 minutes per side until golden.
- Flip occasionally to evenly brown. Season with salt, pepper and any herbs.
Sauté smaller whole new potatoes for a similar crispy effect.
During summer, grilled new potatoes make an amazing barbecue side. Follow Jamie Oliver’s method:
- Preheat grill to medium high heat.
- Toss whole potatoes with oil to lightly coat.
- Grill potatoes for 15-20 minutes, turning occasionally, until char lines form.
- Remove from grill and top with parsley, chives, or other fresh herbs.
The smoky flavor from grilling enhances the taste of new potatoes.
Microwaving is the quickest cooking method for new potatoes, though it can affect the texture. Jamie Oliver suggests:
- Pierce potatoes several times with a fork to allow steam to escape.
- Microwave on high for 4-5 minutes per potato until soft.
- Let stand 2 minutes then serve. Mix in olive oil, salt and pepper.
Microwaved new potatoes won’t be as crispy but still taste great in a pinch.
New potatoes have the perfect creamy yet textured consistency when mashed. Try Jamie’s easy mashed potato recipe:
- Boil new potatoes until very tender, then drain.
- Return potatoes to pot and mash with a ricer, masher or fork.
- Fold in butter, warm milk and seasoning until smooth and creamy.
Mashed new potatoes pair well with all kinds of entrees.
New potato recipes from Jamie Oliver
With their tender bite and adaptability, new potatoes shine in all types of cuisines. Here are some of Jamie Oliver’s favorite new potato dishes:
Spanish new potatoes
This flavorful tapas recipe combines sautéed new potatoes, chorizo and red onion topped with aioli sauce.
New potato salad
Boiled new potatoes are tossed in a Dijon vinaigrette with shallots, chives and parsley for a classic French-style potato salad.
Garlic and herb new potatoes
Roasted new potatoes seasoned simply with olive oil, garlic and mixed fresh herbs create an easy, aromatic side.
New potatoes with feta and olives
Pan fried new potatoes are mixed with briny kalamata olives, creamy feta cheese, olive oil and fresh oregano.
Parmesan new potatoes
These crispy oven-baked new potatoes are rolled in Parmesan, paprika and oil for a cheesy kick.
New potato curry
Steamed new potatoes are simmered in an Indian-inspired creamy coconut curry sauce with spices and fresh cilantro.
Tips for perfect new potatoes
Jamie Oliver recommends these final tips for cooking flawless new potatoes every time:
- Try different varieties like red, purple or yellow potatoes for color and flavor.
- Adjust cooking times based on potato size – smaller potatoes cook faster.
- Underseason and gently toss potatoes with oil, herbs and seasoning after cooking.
- Cook them whole or slice larger potatoes. Avoid overhandling.
- Toss roasted or pan fried potatoes halfway through cooking for even browning.
- Check potatoes are fully cooked by piercing with a knife to see if tender.
Following Jamie Oliver’s guidance, home cooks can easily master cooking new potatoes in healthy, mouthwatering ways.
New potatoes offer a delicious, versatile ingredient to make an abundance of dishes. Jamie Oliver provides ideal tips for choosing, storing, preparing and cooking new potatoes through methods like boiling, roasting, pan frying and more to bring out their distinct sweet, nutty flavor. With thinner skins and lower starch, new potatoes have a creamy, moist texture perfect for salads, sides and entrees. Jamie Oliver incorporates new potatoes into Spanish tapas, herbed roasts, curries and other fantastic recipes. By selecting fresh, firm new potatoes and storing them properly, home cooks can create tender, flavorful potato dishes following Jamie’s reliable new potato expertise.