I am mad for potatoes and have found myself, on more than one occasion, defensively sputtering to Paul that 'of course I absolutely NEED to bring back that bag of potatoes in my suitcase!' In contrast to my gung-ho consumption of potatoes, I would consider Paul to be more of a casual appreciator of the humble spud, but we both love this Herb Potato Salad. It is a light and vivacious, mayonnaise-free potato salad, with a snappy garlic-mustard vinaigrette lavished with herbs. Think of this recipe as an an outline that will easily adjust to different amounts and types of herbs and alternative vinegars and oils.
And since we are now firmly in potato salad season, here are a few of our potato salad tips:
- Safety - Potato salad is a dish many people forget to keep an eye on for food safety. Even if potato salad is mayonnaise-free and dairy-free, potatoes themselves are particularly susceptible to nasty bacterial growth. As a side note, this is also true of other wet starches such as cooked rice. So don't let your potato salad sit at room temperature for more than a few hours before eating or refrigerating.
- Flavor - If you are making your potato salad ahead of time and refrigerating overnight, make sure to bring the salad to room temperature 15 minutes prior to serving. Potatoes soak up lots of flavor and can sometimes benefit from a last minute addition of extra salt, pepper, vinegar or even garlic to punch up the flavor. What may seem like a pungent dressing at the beginning of the recipe becomes more muted as it gets absorbed into the warm potatoes.
- Temperature - Always season with vinegar while the potatoes are hot. This helps the flavor to better penetrate. If you have a non-dairy and non-mayonnaise vinaigrette, like we do in this recipe, you can pour the vinaigrette on the potatoes hot out of the pot. For mayonnaise based sauces, wait to dress the potatoes unit they are cool so your sauce doesn't get greasy or separated.
- Size-Cut your potatoes into a uniform size, (or buy similar sized new potatoes if you are boiling whole) this is crucial for your cook time as variable sizes will result in a mix of under and/or overcooked potatoes.
Yield: Serves 4 as a side dish, or 1 voracious potato eater
- 2 pounds uniform sized small new potatoes, left whole
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1/3 cup white wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed black pepper
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/3 cup canola oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh chopped dill
- 1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
- 1/4 cup chopped green onions or chives (chive blossoms if you have them)
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- Wash potatoes and place in large pot. Cover the potatoes with cold water, add a few liberal pinches of salt and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to medium low and keep potatoes at a vigorous simmer until they are firm but cooked through, approximately 6-9 minutes for small potatoes. The best way to determine your potatoes are cooked is to taste them. Your potatoes should be just barely cooked through, as there will be some residual cooking once you get them off the heat.
- Whisk together vinaigrette ingredients, garlic, vinegar, mustard, pepper, salt and oil.
- Drain potatoes and dump into a large bowl, and cut into half pieces once they are cool enough for you to safely handle.
- Pour vinaigrette over warm potatoes and stir with a spatula.
- Prior to serving, stir in chopped herbs, taste potato salad and adjust salt and vinegar to taste.