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Donal Skehan on returning to Ireland and his love for potatoes

By Brian Dillon

October 14, 2020 at 10:47am

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Following a four year stint living with his family in California, Ireland’s king of quick and tasty meals, Donal Skehan, is back on our shores and is sharing his love for the delicious spud!

The popular chef says that living in LA has broadened his appreciation for international cuisine and now that he's home, he's trying new ways of incorporating Irish ingredients into global dishes.

“Living on the west coast introduced me to new cuisines and flavours, and I’ve discovered that these exotic combinations of spices and herbs can work just as well with more familiar ingredients like potatoes. When you know how to use potatoes, they can be the most convenient food in your kitchen and the starting point to any meal. Apart from being delicious, they are fat-free but also jam-packed with dietary fibre and important nutrients to fuel our bodies and our minds. It was a no-brainer for me to find new ways to include them in my recipes!”

Donal Skehan standing in hos kitchen ready to cook

As a TV Chef, cookbook author, YouTube channel host and Dad to two small children, life for Donal Skehan is very busy. For him, the key to managing mealtimes is all about having a few key ingredients and some quick, time-saving kitchen tricks to make sure that there's always a tasty meal to hand.

“I am always looking at ways to save time when cooking at home and I think if you are armed with a few kitchen hacks, you can create delicious meals in minutes. For example, by cutting potatoes up small they cook incredibly quickly and leaving their skins on, they are even quicker and also more nutritious. Potatoes also absorb the sauces they are cooked with, and lend themselves to batch cooking and a host of leftover lunchbox ideas so you can get at least three meals out of one dish!”

Donal Skehan's Roast Potato and Crispy Bacon Salad

Roast Potato & Crispy Bacon Salad by Donal Skehan

“I've been making a variation of oven-roasted potatoes since the first apartment I moved into with Sofie. The combo of tasty bacon and pickled red onions with delicious crispy golden roast potatoes is the stuff of spud-shaped dreams!”

Serves: 4
Cook time: 40 minutes

For the potatoes:
1kg small Rooster potatoes halved lengthwise
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
A few fresh thyme sprigs
A few fresh rosemary sprigs, finely chopped
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
4 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the bacon:
8 slices bacon
3 tbsp maple syrup
Freshly ground black pepper

For the dressing:
2 tbsp plain greek yogurt
2 garlic cloves minced or pressed
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives plus more for garnish
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill plus more for garnish
1-2 tsp hot sauce

To serve:
Pickled red onions

Donal Skehan's Roast Potato and Crispy Bacon Salad

Method:
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F), gas mark 6.
Step 2: Bash the garlic and herbs in a pestle and mortar with salt for the potatoes. Once fine, add the dijon, pepper and oil.
Step 3: Arrange the potatoes on a large baking tray, drizzle with the pestle and mortar mix and shake the tray to combine. Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes until golden and crisp then serve immediately.
Step 4: While the potatoes are roasting, line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and lay the bacon on top, sprinkle with some black pepper. Place in the oven for 5 minutes or until the bacon is almost cooked. Remove from the oven and brush on all sides with maple syrup. Return the tray to the oven for another 2-3 minutes, until the bacon is glossy and browned. Remove and set aside to cool and harden then break into bite-size pieces.
Step 5: For the pickled onions, place the onion in a bowl, add in the lemon juice and 1 tbsp salt and massage gently until slightly tender. Set aside.
Step 6: For the dressing, whisk together the ingredients and season to taste.
Step 7: Assemble a platter with the potatoes scattered with bacon bits, pickled onions, plenty of chives and dill and drizzle generously with the dressing.

Are you feeling inspired to spice up your spud? To find more ways to use the ever-versatile, nutritious and delicious spud, head to potato.ie.

Sponsored By
'Potatoes, Prepare to Be Surprised’ is an EU campaign which aims to encourage millennials to enjoy exciting and surprising potato recipes. The joint-initiative, organised by Bord Bia, CNIPT (France), VLAM (Belgium) and Europatat (EU Potato Trade Association) will highlight the versatility and convenience of potatoes for busy lifestyles.
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