Leaves and fishes

Andrew McConnell is the executive chef and co-owner of Cutler & Co and Cumulus Inc.

Potato salad is one of my favourite things to eat. I’m not even sure why. I’ve taken my mother’s lead on this recipe and am using sour cream. Which might be the only time I actually use sour cream, outside of goulash and the odd Mexican unmentionable.

This salad takes on more of a Nordic theme, with the addition of salmon roe. It’s an almost austere Scandinavian feel, with a few snippets of dill to make it feel authentic. 

I think salmon roe is the best roe to use. It has a briny, slightly sweet flavour and is easy to find. In the restaurant we add some flying fish roe for crunch and texture, and some Avruga, which has a great depth of flavour against the sweetness of the salmon roe. 

This salad is great with new-season waxy kipflers, the smaller the better. I boil them with the skin on and then peel them while they’re still warm. This is a terrific standalone salad.

The other pleasure of moving from autumn into winter is the presence of endive, or witlof as it is sometimes known. I’ve always found this naming perplexing. And it is made more confusing by the occasional misnaming of chicory, which is of the same family. To confuse matters further, I’ve used both in this recipe.

The dressing I’m using is a sweet-and-sour syrup, based on a traditional Italian recipe for agrodolce. Orange is a great match for endive, and was once a dinner-party favourite: a salad of orange segments and endives, with a red wine vinaigrette. The sweet-and-sour dressing in this recipe is a combination of orange juice, vinegar and sugar, simmered to reduce. I like the flavour of the orange, but I also like the refinement of the syrup spiked with a little walnut oil. It lets me enjoy the combination without feeling like a member of the 1970s dinner-party set.


1 . Potato salad with Avruga, tobiko and salmon roe

Serves 4

– 500g very small waxy potatoes
– salt
– 1 tsp olive oil
– 3 tbsp crème fraîche
– 2 tsp Avruga (smoked herring “caviar”)
– 2 tsp tobiko (flying fish roe)
– 2 tsp salmon roe
– 1 tsp finely chopped dill

Simmer the potatoes in a pot of well-salted boiling water until they are just cooked. Drain and peel while they are still warm. Put the potatoes in a bowl and roll them around with the olive oil, then season with a pinch of salt.

Spread the crème fraîche over the bottom of a serving dish and place the potatoes on top.

Scatter the three types of fish roe over the potatoes and finish the dish with a sprinkling of finely chopped dill.


2 . Witlof and chicory salad with orange dressing

Serves 4

– 1 bunch chicory
– 3 witlof

Orange dressing

– 200ml orange juice
– 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
– 1 tbsp walnut oil
– 2 tbsp grapeseed oil
– salt

Rinse and dry a handful of the small, tender inner leaves from the bunch of chicory (reserve the remaining chicory for another dish).

Trim off the base of the witlof heads and pull apart the leaves, discarding any discoloured outer leaves.

In a small saucepan, simmer the orange juice until it has reduced to a thick syrup. Combine the orange syrup and white wine vinegar in a small bowl and whisk in the walnut and grapeseed oils to emulsify the dressing. Taste and season with a little salt.

Arrange the witlof leaves in a shallow serving bowl and place the chicory among the witlof. Spoon two tablespoons of dressing over the leaves just before serving.

This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on Apr 30, 2016 as "Potato salad with salmon roe".

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Andrew McConnell is the executive chef and co-owner of Cutler & Co and Cumulus Inc.