Salade des pommes de terre
Bonjours, mes amis! And welcome back to Mised Out!
Potato salad is a summer classic, even in France. Summertime may be nearly over for those of us in the northern hemisphere, so let’s squeeze out the very last of summer during the warm autumn days that remain. And that means we are featuring this week another one of those autumn jewels – the potato.
At the farmers market this weekend, they had lovely, freshly harvested potatoes. Who could say “no”? Certainly, I couldn’t – if you’re to judge by the giant bag of potatoes that I carried back from the market! And what better way to enjoy these little wonders than in a light, savory potato salad that makes the spud the star of the show?
Unlike its American counterpart, French potato salad typically doesn’t use mayonnaise. The French opt for a lighter, mustard vinaigrette and lots of herbs which gives the dish an entirely different spin. This particular recipe is interesting because the still-warm potatoes are tossed in a bit of white wine before the vinaigrette is added. While I can’t explain the “why” behind this step, I definitely can’t argue with the results.
Although this recipe is completely delicious on its own, it also provides a great springboard for embellishment. Capers, for example, would add a tangy counterpoint to the spicy mustard. Or anchovies (particularly white anchovies) would add a lovely seaside note to the dish. Or maybe you like a bit more zing and want to amp up the amount of mustard you use. Start with the basic recipe here and let your imagination run wild! And as always, cook with courage and love!
And now, without further adieu, Salade des Pommes de Terre.
Salade des Pommes de Terre
- 2 lbs boiling potatoes
- 4 Tbsp dry white wine
- 2 Tbsp champagne or white wine vinegar
- 1 Tsp Dijon mustard
- ¼ Tsp salt
- 6 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Tbsp scallions sliced thin
- 3 Tbsp fresh tarragon chopped
- Fill a medium-sized pot fit with a steamer basket with water. The water should not touch the bottom of the steamer basket. Place the pot of water on the stove and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
- While the water comes to a boil, scrub the potatoes and cut into cubes approximately 1-inch square. Place the potatoes in a steamer basket and set over the boiling water. Cover and steam until cooked. (Cooking time depends on the size of the potato pieces. Use a sharp knife to test for doneness. The knife should easily slide into a piece of potato, but the cube should hold its shape. Start testing after 10 minutes.)
- Place the still warm potatoes into a large mixing bowl. Pour the white wine over the potatoes and gently toss to coat them. Set the bowl aside for 5 minutes to allow the potatoes to absorb the wine.
- While the potatoes are resting, make the vinaigrette. Beat the vinegar, Dijon mustard and salt in a small mixing bowl. Pour the olive oil into the vinegar in a thin stream, beating constantly with a small whisk or fork. Adjust seasonings (salt and pepper) to taste.
- Pour the dressing over the potatoes. Add the chopped tarragon. Toss gently to coat.
- Sprinkle the sliced scallions over the potatoes. Cover and chill for at least three hours.