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Saffron Bay and Fennel Potatoes

Try this tasty recipe by Debbie Crompton from series 2 of Mercurio's Menu.


  • 1 medium onion, chopped,

  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed,

  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil - from Central Otago of course!

  • 1 large bulb of fennel, sliced thinly

  • Two pinches Ida Valley Safron

  • A sprig of fresh Bay leaves consisting of roughly 8 leaves, separated from the stalk

  • 800g - 1kg small waxy potatoes

  • Freshly ground pepper and salt


  • 1.

    In a heavy based casserole dish or frying pan which will go into the oven, begin by gently cooking the chopped onion, garlic and sliced fennel in the extra virgin olive oil.

  • 2.

    Add the washed Bay leaves, and break up two generous pinches of Saffron in the palm of your hand before adding to the dish.

  • 3.

    Do not allow to brown, but rather 'sweat' the vegetables very slowly as this brings out maximum flavour the longer and slower it is done.

  • 4.

    This dish is to be enjoyed 'bathing' in plenty of the best quality oil you can get your hands on. Don't settle for anything less.

  • 5.

    Slice potatoes into 5mm slices, skin on is fine, and add to the dish. Mix well, and add plenty of freshly ground pepper and salt. Mix again, to ensure the salt and pepper are evenly distributed throughout the dish.

  • 6.

    If you like, add another slug of olive oil - the potatoes shouldn't be too dry.

  • 7.

    Cover the dish with a lid, and put into oven at 180 celsius until the potatoes are just fork tender. It pays to mix again once during cooking to make sure the flavours of the Bay and Saffron have infused evenly, and the Saffron has stained everything a glorious rusty orange.

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