Pertaters! But let’s give it style.
You all know my maniacal obsession with thrifting. Estate saling, garage saling, flea marketing, swap meets, junk hunts. I love it. I love it all. Well I found this little cookbook recently at an estate sale. And I’ll tell you, from the dense weight of it (small but heavy!), the beautiful garlic illustration on the front, the attractive font with the words ROAST CHICKEN and Other Stories – I spiraled into submission.
The water stain was me. I had a plant on it. Oopsie.
While it was originally published in 1994 (I graduated high school that year!), it’s the little handwritten note inside any thrifted book that warms me. It says, “To Libby, the best friend I ever had!! With love, Margaret Ann. Dec, 2007.” Like, WHAT IS THAT STORY? I need to know Libby and Margaret Ann and find out what they’re doing later tonight.
And by later tonight I mean 4pm.
Well the book is glorious. Old fashioned, very English, interestingly-chosen chapters. (like one whole chapter is on cilantro.) The illustrations are beautiful and the writing straightforward but friendly.
I found a potato salad to make and share with you. I’m following Simon’s instructions to the dang t.
It’s an interesting technique, like boiling the potatoes with the mint. (said like, “in the computer?” – name that movie.)
So yeah, let us peepeth.
He uses both vegetable oil and olive oil, and I wasn’t mad at it.
I will say, instead of chives I have wild onion in my garden, but he calls for chives or spring onions (scallions), so whatever ya got.
I went with a mix of purple, red and gold new potatoes. I hope this works for you, Simon. They’re waxy, I swear!
Have you ever boiled your potatoes with mint? I never have. This was a first, and I’ll vouch that they do in fact take on a subtle mint flavor. I’m into this, Simon.
Some of the peel naturally came off the potatoes (Simon’s into peeling), but some stayed in tact, so I peeled a little and left the rest whole. Don’t get mad, Simon!
The dressing – both oils, salt and pepper, the vinegar and mustard. It’s VERY tangy, but absolutely worked over that amount of potatoes.
Like Simon says (ha), we’ll dress the potatoes while they’re warm and sprinkle in the chives or spring onions right at the end. Give it all a gentle toss and just watch what happens. It’s honestly so pretty. It’s rustic but sophisticated, and I love that.
I did add a few more baby mint leaves for garnish because why else are we here?
It has wonderful flavor. Richly satisfying. Like I said, very tangy, but the longer it sits the more mellow it gets. So cover and let it rest a few minutes before you serve if you feel it needs to chill out.
The potatoes are tender, but not mush. They’re silky with an onion flavor that’s seriously to die for. I love potato salads like this.
Tell me, are you whole-potato-salad fan, or more of a mush-it-up-and-sprinkle-with-paprika type?
You know the type. It has 1985 church pot luck written all over it. (hi, mom!) Where do you land? I need these details.
In the meantime, give something like this a go! Simple, homey, incredible flavor.
Nicely done, Simon. You want to meet up with Libby and Margaret Ann later, too?
No? Oh. Okay.
Here’s the recipe, taken straight from Roast Chicken and Other Stories:
- 1 1/2 lb waxy potatoes
- 4 mint sprigs
- 1 Tbs. smooth Dijon mustard
- 2 Tbs. red wine vinegar
- 6 Tbs. vegetable oil
- 2 Tbs. olive oil
- One bunch of chives, snipped, or spring onions thinly sliced
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the mint and potatoes and cook until tender, 20-30 minutes. Using a sieve, transfer to a large cutting board and peel off any peel that’s coming off the potatoes. Leave the rest in tact. Cut the larger potatoes into quarters or halves. Leave the tiny potatoes whole. (Discard the mint.)
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the vegetable oil, olive oil, vinegar and mustard, along with a pinch of salt and a crack of freshly ground pepper.
- Place the potatoes in a large bowl and pour the dressing over. Garnish with chives or onions and give it all a light toss. Some final mint leaves? Sounds beautiful.
- Serve room temperature. (Chilled even works!)
- Serves 4-6.
Poll: Who wants another recipe from this cookbook?! Besides me, me, and me.
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