Memories of one of my favorite childhood meals at my grandparents’ house in the Bavarian Alps–smoked trout with horseradish cream and a green salad–inspired the recent purchase of a chunk of fresh horseradish at the Hillsdale Farmers Market. While I’ve always liked the flavor I’ve rarely cooked with it myself. Anthony Boutard of Ayers Creek Farm calls it Bavarian Parmesan as it truly is used liberally in Bavaria. What is NOT improved by a fresh grating of it?! What certainly IS improved is a salad dressing or deviled eggs or any manner of eggs really or roasted beets or beef of course or roasted potatoes in this case. It certainly likes to be mingled with creamy things like yogurt, creme fraiche, sour cream, heavy whipping cream and butter, which round out its heat and punch, however, a little–of both the creamy partner and the horseradish itself–goes a long way so by all means indulge!
A friend reminded me of this classic combination the other day and with my fragrant root in hand I made up a quick cream for some simply roasted potatoes and made a salad of water cress and nothing more than lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper and voila, one of the best plates of food I’ve sat down to in a while. So simple and so, so good. It’s worth seeking out fresh horseradish for the fresh, spicy bite it offers even if you have no Germanic heritage.
Roasted Potatoes with Horseradish Cream and Watercress
If you have smoked trout or other smoked fish or canned albacore it makes a wonderful addition. You can also cook some eggs, just barely hard-boiled (bring eggs to a boil, turn off immediately and let sit in hot water for 8 minutes) and serve those alongside for a light meal.
Fingerling or Ozette Potatoes (which I used) or any firm-fleshed, waxy potato that roasts well. I used about 15 medium-sized potatoes and three of us polished those off as a side to a hearty soup. Keep potatoes whole if small-ish or cut in large wedges.
3-4 teaspoons grated fresh horseradish (or more to taste). I used the small holes on a box grater
Generous 1/2 cup whole-milk Greek yogurt or sour cream or creme fraiche
1-2 tablespoons good olive oil
1 bunch fresh watercress, well washed and dried and roughly torn (or arugula or other peppery green)
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Preheat oven to 425 F.
I almost never peel potatoes but I did for this dish and it gives the potatoes a nice thin crust but it’s just great with the skin left on as well just give them a good scrub. Toss the potatoes with some olive oil and salt and spread on a sheet pan and put in the oven. Turn once or twice while roasting and roast until tender and crisp on the outside, about 30-45 minutes.
Meanwhile grate the horseradish on the small holes of a box grater. In a small bowl mix the horseradish, yogurt, salt and olive oil and stir well.
In a salad bowl toss the watercress, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.