This is a quick and easy side set to complement any robust main dish with its zesty flavours.






Skill level

Average: 3.3 (31 votes)


  • 700 g baby red potatoes
  • 100 ml extra-virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup firmly packed watercress leaves
  • 40 g (¼ cup) natural almonds
  • 2 tbsp baby capers in brine
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


  1. Preheat the oven to 200 ˚C.
  2. Bring a saucepan of salted water to the boil. Add the whole, unpeeled potatoes and cook for 10 minutes or until tender but not falling apart. Drain well. Place in a bowl, drizzle with 50 ml olive oil, season to taste and toss to combine. Spread in a single layer over a baking tray lined with baking paper and use a potato masher to lightly smash the potatoes. Roast for 30-35 minutes or until golden and crunchy.
  3. Meanwhile, place the watercress, almonds, capers and remaining oil in a small food processor bowl or blender and blitz until just combined. A rough texture is welcome here. Season with lemon juice, salt and pepper. Serve the smashed potatoes, topped with the watercress pesto and a little grated lemon zest.


Adam Liaw cooks, laughs, and explores culture with some of Australia's most beloved in The Cook Up With Adam Liaw.


Photography by Danielle Abou Karam.