I often get emails from people asking me what kind of food I would recommend for lunch. And by lunch I don’t mean a laid back spread for more than two, beginning at lunchtime and ending at some point in the afternoon. I, or rather, they, mean lunch at the office, sat at your desk, or out and about, sat on a patch of grass somewhere desperately pointing towards the sun, or in the car with half an hour to spare. Lunch can be tricky, with so few restaurants and shops catering to food sensitivities, it is often easier, and certainly safer, to make your own. I tend to keep lunch simple, unless I’m entertaining; salads, wraps, soups are all perfect lunchtime food. As are leftovers from the night before, revamped into an exciting new meal – though I know this is contentious, some people being averse to leftovers in any form, though I can’t think why, personally. You can find recipes for Corn Tortilla wraps or Flatbreads in my book, perfect for combining with Carrot and Fennel Salad and hummus, or cooked chicken and homemade pesto or avocado and smoked ham with alittle onion marmalade to add punch. The combinations are, at the least, generous and if you have such a dish, plus a bowl of warming soup, then I’d call it a lunchtime feast. Equally, a little something baked at the beginning of the week can offer you a treat for each day. As in all aspects of life, if you’re a little bit organised and pre-prepared, an allergy-free lunch can be a easy, nourishing and most importantly, delicious thing.
This gloriously simple salad is packed full of flavour and I think the perfect thing to take in a tub for your midday meal. Good quality tuna – and safely caught – new potatoes and the intense, fragrant piquancy of salsa verde are a sublime combination. Pair it with a handful of green leaves, rocket especially, and some finely sliced sundried tomatoes and I’d call it a triumph. At this time of year I would highly recommend Jersey Royles for your choice of potato, they’re the first in season and really delicious, although a little pricey. But as the good people at Eat the Seasons say ‘Look at it this way; Jersey Royals aren't cheap, but the potatoes you'll be eating for the other ten months of the year are, so treat yourself!’ They make a good point, I think.
TUNA, NEW POTATO AND SALSA VERDE SALAD
Serves 2 for lunch or 4 as part of a larger spread
For the salsa verde
A bunch of flat-leaf parsley
A bunch of chives
A small bunch of mint
3 tbsp capers, rinsed
The juice and zest of ½ a lemon
5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
400g new potatoes
160g good quality tuna in spring water or olive oil, drained
Place the parsley, chives and mint leaves in a food processor. Add the capers, lemon juice and zest and olive oil. Blitz until you have a coarse pasted and then transfer to a bowl. Alternatively, finely chop the herbs and capers and mix together with the oil and lemon juice. Chill the salsa verde until ready to use.
Cut the potatoes into halves or quarters, depending on their size, you want them to be in small, bite size chunks. Bring a saucepan of salted water to the boil and add the new potatoes – when cooking potatoes it’s a good rule to know that if they are old potatoes you should place them in cold water and then bring to the boil before timing, whereas, when cooking new potatoes, you should add them to already boiling water and then time.
Gently boil the potatoes until tender to a knife point – around 8-10 minutes - and then drain. Transfer the new potatoes to a large serving bowl, flake in the tuna and then spoon over the salsa verde. Fold together until evenly mixed and serve.