The Jersey Royal, the first of the crop, deserves its reputation as the Queen of new potatoes. Very expensive and packed neatly in woven wooden drums, their arrival is something we eagerly await - for the flavour is incomparable. Later in the season they are not as good and by June one should switch to other varieties.
In recent times we have seen new potatoes coming from all over the world, like Charlotte, Belle de Fontenay and the enchanting, knobbly Pink Fir Apple. Many of them are exceptional. Experiment and try different varieties. Unless you do, supermarkets will stop stocking them.
With all new potatoes it is important that they have not formed a full skin - it should still be faking away. Once a skin has formed completely, the potato is past its best -but will be perfectly acceptable when peeled.
Prepare all new potatoes by rubbing them with a scouring pad under running water. They need no clever cooking method and should simply be boiled in plenty of salted water.
Served hot with a knob of butter, or cold with extra virgin olive oil and sea salt, they are one of the finest things I can imagine. The combination of the newest potato and black truffle, however, is extraordinary. If you have made the Ravioli of Leeks and Truffles, try a dish of new potatoes tossed with any truffle butter you have left over and frozen for just such an experiment.
© 1993 Alastair Little and Richard Whittington estate. All rights reserved.