Tag Archives: potato

“I’ll take the light potato salad, please.”

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With each new summer cookout, looms the threat that someone is going to show up with those clear plastic containers from the deli counter of potato salad, macaroni salad and coleslaw. Now, rumor has it that these salads actually  contain potatoes, macaroni and cabbage, but the protective coating of mayonnaise obscures any possible proof.

Okay, that was a bit of hyperbole, but most summer cookouts abound with rich, grilled meats and sauces, toasted buns and baskets of chips and dip. What I want from my salad is something light and bright to balance the plate, and a gloopy heap of mayonnaise just doesn’t cut it. Enter the “French” potato salad.

Like may other American “French” delicacies like fries, toast and dressing, I’m not sure how french this is, but I think they would approve. Boiled potatoes are tossed, still warm, in a sharp, buttery vinaigrette, with garlic or shallots and fresh herbs. They soak up the dressing and releasing the flavorful oils from the greens; exactly what you want sitting next to your burger, hanger steak or chicken thighs, complete with flawless grill marks.

This is a recipe I served at Eastern Market recently, but experiment throughout the summer. Toss with halved cherry tomatoes and basil, use fresh tasting tarragon and shallots, baby arugula or minced red peppers. But please, I’ll take my potato salad without mayonnaise. and I like my burgers rare.

French Potato Salad with Mint and Garlic Scapes

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups small potatoes
  • 3 tbs mint
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped garlic scapes

For dressing:

  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 cup Champagne Mimosa Vinegar*
  • 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup Koroneiko Olive Oil*
*More magical ingredients from Sapore Oil and Vinegar. Champagne or white wine vinegar can replace the Champagne Mimosa. The Koroneiko Olive Oil is Greek. Mild and grassy. Substitute another high-quality olive oil.

Directions:

  • Boil potatoes in salted water until still firm but can be easily pierced through to the center with the tip of a knife. Drain potatoes.
  • Meanwhile, mince garlic and mash it into a paste with coarse sea salt. Whisk with Champagne Mimosa Vinegar. Season with pepper. Set aside.
  • Mix mint and garlic scapes in a salad bowl.
  • Cut warm potatoes in 1” pieces – halved or quartered – and toss with mint and garlic scapes. The heat will release oils in the mint.
  • Whisk oil into vinegar mixture in a steady stream until creamy. Toss with potatoes. Dress lightly so not to overpower the other flavors.
  • Season to taste with salt, pepper and additional mint.
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Comfort food.

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On the last Saturday morning in March, cool and with a constant, unrealized threat of rain in the air, the marble potatoes tossed with sautéed Oyster mushrooms were the perfect comfort food. Hearty, earthy and coated in a bit of farm-fresh fat. This is where great ingredients truly matter: firm, small potatoes – each a perfect bite, low in starch so they are light, not gummy. Fresh Oyster mushrooms are delicate and mild but still earthy, chopped fine and sautéed they have no tough chew. Anchovy paste makes the flavors come alive in your mouth without ever making itself known, leading from behind. And, of course, farm-fresh Amish butter, lightly salted, tasting of rich cream and new spring grass. Truly a pocketful of marbles, a simple prize, deeply treasured.

Wild Mushroom Tossed Potatoes

Eat the leftovers for breakfast the next morning, at room temperature. Or make a fresh batch.

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 cups marble or fingerling potatoes
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 2 cups finely chopped oyster mushrooms
  • 1/4 tbs anchovy paste
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tbs chopped thyme
  • 1 tbs chopped parsley
  • 2 tbs butter

Directions:

  • Bring a pot of water to boil, salt and add potatoes cook until they can be easily pierced through with a fork, but are still firm. If using fingerling potatoes, cut them into 1″ pieces as soon as they are cool enough to handle.
  • Heat oil in large pan over medium heat. Sauté mushrooms until soft, 3-5 minutes.
  • Add anchovy paste and shallots to center of pan and cook 2 minutes, until shallot begins to soften.
  • Add wine and cook until nearly evaporated.
  • Add herbs and butter. Cook one minute longer.
  • Toss potatoes with mushrooms. If potatoes have cool, cook a minute or two until they have warmed through.

NOTE: The mushroom sauce is also wonderful over pasta. Or just about anything else. Try it with roast chicken or a sautéed pork chop.