I’ve made a lot of salads in recent months: wild rice & blueberry, kale & millet, a cabbage slaw with hard boiled eggs, a simple faro salad, a new broccoli slaw and a chickpea & carrot salad. That’s a whole lot of salad eating. And now I’m going to throw another one into the rotation. A potato salad. Simple, right? This one is easy and it’s the one salad that I’ve put on repeat all summer long. There’s room for endless variations here because the base is nothing more than olive oil, lemon juice, cider vinegar or white wine vinegar, plus a little dijon and honey (or agave syrup). Salt and pepper too. Plus fresh herbs.
All possible and delicious variations that I’ve tried: lightly steamed green or yellow beans. Yummy! Barely steamed snow peas are crunchy and delightful. I think diced celery is a must do. Chopped cold Kielbasa sausage mixed in with the warm potato salad? A dream come true. And gone so quick that I didn’t even take a photo. Trust me, it was amazing. To note, if you’re in Vancouver, the Kielbasa at J, N & Z Deli on Commercial Drive is hard to beat. It’s wonderful grilled too!
A cupful of fresh from the garden basil (or in my case, fresh from the farmer’s market) and parsley. Dill is great too, as is fresh tarragon. Herbaceous! Throw in chopped capers for a salty & tangy punch. I also like to add in a mix of purple potatoes along with the regular standbys because it just looks so freakin’ classy. And sometimes I like to get my fancy on.
One tip that I can’t stress enough is to really scrub your potatoes, even the cute lil’ baby ones, because crunching down on a grain of dirt is unappetizing and somehow I always get the potato with the dirt. Maybe you should peel your potatoes though I never do. And maybe this is just a reminder to myself to scrub a little harder next time. And I’ll be serving this up soon. Almost all my friends that have come over for dinner this summer have been privy to this as a side. It gets rave reviews every single time and I’ve had requests for the recipe. Here it is. And for you mayo haters, relax. No mayo, no fear.
french potato salad
I love this potato salad since the harsh red onions get pickled in the vinaigrette before getting tossed with the hot potatoes. The hot potatoes just suck up the vinaigrette so I like to leave the dressing a little extra sharp and salty. As for the optional ingredients, I think celery should always have a place. Snow peas or fresh beans add a good dose of healthy vegetables and colour. Add in your favourite fresh herb. And you know how I feel about sausage. Make it yours!
1 kg potatoes, evenly diced (I prefer to use small or baby potatoes since I leave the peel on)
1/4 red onion, sliced thinly
1/4 c olive oil
2 T white wine vinegar (or cider vinegar)
1 T lemon juice
1 T dijon mustard or a good grainy whole mustard
a small drizzle of honey or agave syrup
1/2 t kosher salt & a hammering of freshly ground black pepper
ingredients (pick one or more):
1 lb green or yellow beans, cut into 2″ lengths & lightly steamed
1 packet snow peas, cut in half & lightly steamed
1 c kielbasa sausage, sliced into half moons
1 c basil, roughly chopped
1/2 c diced celery
3 scallions, diced (if not using red onions)
1/2 c chopped fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 c chopped fresh dill, chopped
1/4 c chopped fresh tarragon, chopped
2 T capers, roughly chopped
In a medium sized pot, bring salted water to a boil and add in the potatoes. Cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain.
While the potatoes are boiling, add the red onion slices to your large salad bowl. In a small jar, combine dressing ingredients, tasting to adjust seasoning. I like the dressing to be a little on the sharp side. Pour over red onions and let sit for 10 minutes to slightly pickle the onion slices.
Add the hot potatoes into the bowl and toss quickly with the dressing. Add in any of the following herbs, vegetables, or sausage. Lightly toss and serve. Serves 4.